BOSTON — With the Boston Red Sox in the midst of a disastrous homestand that has seen them drop to 12 games below .500 (39-51), the first big roster shakeup happened today.
Veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who signed a one-year, $8.25-million contract this past offseason, was called into Fenway Park at around 11 a.m. and informed that he had been designated for assignment.
The Red Sox have promoted 23-year-old catcher Christian Vazquez from Triple-A Pawtucket. Vazquez, known for his strong defensive skills and cannon arm, will make his major league debut today. He will be batting ninth in the order when the Red Sox and White Sox play at 7:10 p.m. here at Fenway Park.
Vazquez — who took early batting practice today at the park, will be one of five rookies along with Brock Holt, Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. in tonight's starting lineup.
"Based on the performance of us as a team we're not closing the book on 2014, but at the same time we're investing in those beyond this year," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
The 37-year-old Pierzynski was batting .254 with a .286 on-base percentage, .348 slugging percentage, .633 OPS and 15 extra-base hits (four homers, 10 doubles, one triple).
"Offensively maybe he didn't perform to the level of what his track record indicates," Farrell said. "But I think it's clear to reemphasize that where we are today and our record is not solely because of A.J."
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