The move was necessitated by a need for additional pitching, manager Ron Roenicke said, as the club recalled right-hander Chris Mazza from the alternate training site.
“We liked having the depth with the catching with Luc there, and knowing that if something did go wrong, we had a third catcher, or if we pinch-ran for somebody, we'd have the third catcher,” Roenicke said. “But it hadn't come up in the first few games, so we thought the more important move on that last roster spot was to have a pitcher that had some length to him.”
Lucroy, who signed a Minor League deal with Boston after recovering from offseason neck surgery, did not have an at-bat during the first five games this season. While delivering such news is part of every manager’s job, this one was personal for Roenicke, who managed Lucroy in Milwaukee from 2011-15, some of the most productive years of the catcher’s career. Bench coach Jerry Narron, who served the same role for Roenicke with the Brewers, was also in the room when Lucroy was told.
“No doubt it was different, because I can talk to him as a guy that knows that I really care about him,” Roenicke said. “Jerry is also very familiar with him, so I think just talking to him, as not just necessarily a manager to a player but more as a friend, as somebody that wants his career to continue and what's best for him, we do talk to him a little different. Because he knows us so well, he can trust that what we're saying is what we think is best for him.”
Christian Vázquez and Kevin Plawecki are now the only catchers on Boston’s active roster.
Xander’s day off
Xander Bogaerts was not in the lineup on Wednesday against the Mets, as Roenicke decided to give him the night off to rest his banged-up body.
Bogaerts jammed his neck and back while diving to tag a runner on Monday, and although he played on Tuesday, the Red Sox have five straight games before their next off-day, prompting Roenicke to sit his shortstop in the first of two games at Citi Field.
“We know he wasn't 100 percent yesterday; I know he told me he was good to go,” Roenicke said. “Thinking about five more games before our off-day, we thought today was a good day to do it, and then hopefully, he’ll play the next four and then have that day off.”
Bogaerts did make an appearance in the 6-5 win, coming off the bench and drawing a four-pitch walk in the top of the eighth. He was replaced by pinch-runner Jonathan Araúz, who scored on Vázquez's two-run single.
Devers not getting defensive
With three errors in his first five games, Rafael Devers has had his share of early-season struggles at third base. Despite the rough start, the 23-year-old is trying to keep a positive attitude about his play in the field.
“Obviously, trying to improve on that part, it’s something that I try to control as much as I can,” Devers said through an interpreter. “I try to play defense to the best of my ability, and errors are going to happen in the game. That’s just a part of it, but I feel great overall, and I’m still putting in the work like I usually do to try to improve defensively, and that’s really what I’m going to continue to look to do.”
On the road again
After opening the season with five games at Fenway Park, the Red Sox took their first road trip of the season, a seven-game journey that will take them to Citi Field, Yankee Stadium and Tropicana Field.
As the Red Sox prepared for Wednesday's game against the Mets, Roenicke said everybody “seemed to be OK” with the setup in the visitors' clubhouse at Citi Field.
“The Mets have a nice setup here; it's more traditional locker room that is just spaced out more,” he said. “They've got some portable lockers they put in the middle of the clubhouse, and that spaced everybody out, so when you walk in, you actually kind of see a locker room like it normally is, with just more chairs in between.”
Devers said the trip “went smoothly,” adding that the Red Sox “have been doing everything they can, taking all the necessary precautions to make sure that our safety is obviously No. 1.”
After their five games in New York, the Red Sox will head to Florida, which has been hit hard of late by COVID-19.
“We have to follow the rules, follow the protocols that they have set in place by the team and not leave the hotel,” Devers said. “Just be really smart and careful because it’s something we really can’t control, except for the fact that we have to follow the rules that the Red Sox have set.”