BOSTON -- With the season set to start on July 23 or 24, the Red Sox will report to summer camp on Wednesday, and the first official workout is set for Friday. On Sunday, Boston announced a 47-man player pool.
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Teams can have up to 60 players in the pool who would be available to play for the club this season. The Red Sox are soon expected to add more Minor League players who will work out at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, R.I., to fill out the pool.
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Boston’s initial list did not include non-roster invitee and veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy, but that was only for procedural reasons as a restructuring of Lucroy’s contract was being worked on. That has since been completed and he is expected to be with the club for the start of camp.
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Lucroy is in competition with Kevin Plawecki for the backup catching spot. With the roster at 30 for the first two weeks of the regular season, it’s possible Boston will open with three catchers.
The list of 47 includes 37 players from the 40-man roster. The only players from the 40 who weren’t included? Ace Chris Sale (who was placed on the 60-day injured list on Sunday after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March), outfielder Marcus Wilson and left-hander Yoan Aybar.
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who is unlikely to play this season, had already been placed on the 60-day injured list months ago.
The best prospect on the list of 47 is power-hitting corner infielder Bobby Dalbec, who is ranked No. 3 in the Red Sox's system by MLB Pipeline.
Prospects in the player pool will only gain service time if added to the active roster. It will be interesting to see if in the coming days the Sox add No. 1 prospect Jeter Downs (infielder), No. 2 prospect Triston Casas (slugging first baseman) and No. 4 prospect Bryan Mata (power righty starter).
The Red Sox will hold the bulk of camp at Fenway Park, though some players will also work out at Boston College so the team can have the proper amount of social distancing.
The players not in competition for the 30-man Opening Day roster will mainly work out in Pawtucket and stay there while the MLB season is going on.
Here is a look at the pool that the club announced on Sunday.
Catchers (5): Jett Bandy, Juan Centeno, Kevin Plawecki, Christian Vázquez, Connor Wong
Lucroy, since added to the list, gives the Red Sox a group of six catchers they can draw from if need be this season. Vázquez is the unquestioned starter and a team leader. Plawecki and Lucroy had a fierce battle going on when Spring Training was shut down in March. It will be interesting to see how that plays out in the coming weeks. Wong is one of the prospects acquired in the blockbuster trade with the Dodgers for Mookie Betts. He can also play second and third base.
Infielders (11): Jonathan Arauz, Xander Bogaerts, C.J. Chatham, Michael Chavis, Bobby Dalbec, Rafael Devers, Marco Hernández, Tzu-Wei Lin, Mitch Moreland, Yairo Muñoz, José Peraza
Dalbec has a big bat and the Red Sox will monitor his progress closely. But he is unlikely to start the season with the club, as Boston seems set at the corners with Moreland, Chavis and Devers.
No. 13 prospect Chatham is another player to keep an eye on in the event the Red Sox suffer an injury to the middle infield. He is a line-drive hitter and a solid defender. In Chavis, Moreland and Peraza, the Sox essentially have three players jockeying for two starting spots on the right side of the infield. This is an area where manager Ron Roenicke could do his share of mixing and matching.
Outfielders (7): John Andreoli, Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., J.D. Martinez, Kevin Pillar, César Puello, Alex Verdugo
Even without Betts, the Red Sox have a strong group of outfielders. In fact, they have four plus defenders in Benintendi, Bradley, Pillar and Verdugo. Martinez, one of the most fearsome offensive players in the game, will be used mainly at DH. Look for Pillar to play against all lefties and some righties. His intensity and passion for the game should make him a perfect fit in Boston. Verdugo, the main return piece for Betts, is set to be over the back issues that would have left him on the injured list if the season had started when it was supposed to.
Pitchers (24): Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Colten Brewer, Austin Brice, Nathan Eovaldi, Matt Hall, Kyle Hart, Heath Hembree, Darwinzon Hernandez, Brian Johnson, Robinson Leyer, Chris Mazza, Collin McHugh, Josh Osich, Martín Pérez, Eduardo Rodriguez, Mike Shawaryn, Jeffrey Springs, Domingo Tapia, Josh Taylor, Phillips Valdez, Marcus Walden, Ryan Weber, Brandon Workman
After Rodriguez, Eovaldi and Pérez, it is unclear how the Sox will proceed in the starting rotation. Weber was close to locking down the No. 4 spot when camp was shut down so he could have the inside track to be in the rotation. It’s quite possible -- if not probable -- that the Sox will go with an opener in the fifth spot.
Veteran swingman McHugh offers Roenicke some versatility as long as he is over the right flexor strain injury he suffered last season. Hernandez has a power arm and showed flashes of brilliance as a reliever in 2019. He could be a big cog as part of an opener scenario. Workman, Barnes, Hembree, Walden and Taylor should be mainstays in the ‘pen. There could be a lot of competition for the last couple of spots.
According to MLB's Operating Manual, all players on a 40-man roster “that the Club anticipates participating” during the season will be part of the player pool, while the rest will be made up of non-40-man roster players under contract. Any 40-man-roster players who are not included in a player pool (for example, maybe a prospect who isn’t deemed ready for the Majors) will still be paid during the season.
No team will be allowed to exceed the limit of 60 players in its player pool at any time during Spring Training 2.0 or the regular season.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.