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Lucroy joins Boston catching mix on spring invite

@Sportsgal25
February 19, 2020

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox camp grew by one on Wednesday as Boston agreed to a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training with veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy. He is expected to work out with the club on Thursday.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox camp grew by one on Wednesday as Boston agreed to a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training with veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy. He is expected to work out with the club on Thursday.

The deal brings the number of catchers in camp to seven. While declining to comment on Lucroy on Tuesday because the deal wasn't yet complete, interim manager Ron Roenicke admitted that there’s no such thing as too many options behind the plate.

“I’ll just answer it this way on that: Depth is huge. Catching depth is huge,” Roenicke said. “So whatever you do there to help your depth is good.”

Lucroy, 33, is a two-time All-Star who has seen his offensive production decline the past two years, hitting .232/.305/.355 with eight homers and 36 RBIs in 101 games with the Angels and Cubs last season. Over 10 big league seasons, Lucroy has 108 home runs, 545 RBIs and a career .274/.335/.416 slash line.

He will compete to back up Boston starting catcher Christian Vázquez, who broke out at the plate last season with a career-best 23 homers and a .798 OPS.

Lucroy’s main competition is Kevin Plawecki, who signed with the Red Sox as a free agent on Jan. 2. Plawecki, a five-year veteran, appeared in 59 games for the Indians in 2019 and slashed .222/.287/.342. He’s out of Minor League options, but if Lucroy impresses this spring, that could be rendered moot as Boston picked up Plawecki for just $900,000.

Bye, bye Brock
Brock Holt, who elected free agency after the 2019 season, agreed to a deal with the Brewers on Monday. The veteran utility man slashed .270/.340/.374 during his seven seasons with the Red Sox, numbers that ballooned to .333/.422/.648 in 65 appearances as a pinch-hitter throughout his career.

“I thought he was a fantastic hitter,” Roenicke said. “He’s coming in there facing the best relievers in the game, the nastiest stuff, and he’s coming in there in the eighth, ninth inning trying to do some big things against them. And that is without a doubt the hardest job in baseball. And there are very few I can tell you that are good at it. Brock is good at it.”

Holt was an All-Star in 2015 and a member of the ’18 World Series championship team, but perhaps his biggest legacy in Boston was his community involvement. Holt was a constant presence at Red Sox charity events and a champion of the cancer-fighting Jimmy Fund. His efforts earned him a Roberto Clemente Award nomination in four of the past five years.

Holt’s is a face, Roenicke said, that will definitely be missed around the clubhouse.

“He’s a great guy,” Roenicke added. “Everybody liked him.”

Hernandez off on the right foot
Darwinzon Hernandez earned a mention from Roenicke after his live batting practice session, during which he faced three hitters. None fared very well against the big lefty, who fanned 57 hitters in 30 1/3 innings (29 games) last season as a rookie.

“He always looks impressive,” Roenicke said. “He left a couple of balls up on his breaking ball, but his bullpens have been good, and I thought he threw the ball well. I don’t think our hitters are too excited about being in there with Darwinzon.”

Dawn Klemish is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Tampa. Follow her on Twitter @Sportsgal25.