Red Sox's Sandy Leon: Confirmed as starting backstop
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(9:46 am ET) Manager John Farrell said Leon remains the starting catcher heading into the regular season, Rob Bradford of WEEI reports.

Leon has turned things around a bit after a recent slump and is 6-for-23 this spring, though that comes with an underwhelming .553 OPS, without an extra-base hit. Still, Farrell likes what Leon brings with his overall game, and, for as questionable as its sustainability for 2017 may be, the 28-year-old hit .310/.369/.476 with seven home runs in 283 plate appearances last year. Fantasy players in two-catcher mixed leagues could do worse when scouring for a late-round, No. 2 receiver.

Red Sox's Christian Vazquez: Throws out two runners Wednesday
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(7:07 am ET) Vazquez caught for Eduardo Rodriguez in a minor league game Wednesday and helped the left-hander by throwing out two runners trying to steal second base, Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe reports.

These caught base-stealers don't register on Vazquez's official spring stat log, but the backstop has thrown out four of five would-be base-stealers in Grapefruit League play. His ability to control the running game and framing skills are enough to overcome whatever hitting holes he has. If the Red Sox get into a position where they're getting unacceptable offensive production out of the catching position, and considering calling up Blake Swihart to replace either a Vazquez or Sandy Leon, the organization would view Vazquez as the more long-term option.

Astros' Juan Centeno: Slated for Triple-A
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(6:42 am ET) Centeno is expected to begin the season at Triple-A Fresno and potentially become the Astros' third catcher in the event of an injury to either Brian McCann or Evan Gattis, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports.

When Houston designated catcher Max Stassi for assignment earlier this week, it barely registered on the transaction radar, but it meant something to Centeno. He and Stassi will be in the same boat at Fresno -- the Astros will have to select the contract of either player to be added to the 40-man roster. Neither have hit much -- Stassi from the right side, Centeno from the left -- with Centeno holding an edge in terms of major league experience.

Rangers' Jonathan Lucroy: Limited action in WBC
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(3/22/2017) Lucroy has gone 3-for-11 with one RBI and two strikeouts in three WBC games.

His playing time has been somewhat limited for Team USA, with Buster Posey taking on the larger share of the workload behind the plate, but the Rangers have not publicly expressed any concern about Lucroy not being up to speed for the start of the regular season. Lucroy went 5-for-12 in Cactus League play before leaving Rangers camp. The 30-year-old should be viewed as a top-three fantasy catcher for 2017.

Royals' Salvador Perez: Will DH on Wednesday, catch over weekend
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(3/22/2017) Perez (elbow), who is serving as the team's DH for Wednesday's Cactus League game against the Padres, is expected to catch in games Friday and Saturday, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

Perez hurt his knee during a collision at home plate during the World Baseball Classic, but that injury is no longer concern, and it's instead a hyperextended left elbow that's presenting more trouble at this time. However, it seems he's just about healed up now, and once he gets behind the plate over the weekend, he should be considered ready to go for the start of the season. The Royals are once again preparing to hand Perez one of the heftier workloads at catcher this season, which should help him in racking up counting stats.

Blue Jays' Russell Martin: Will determine his own workload
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(3/22/2017) Manager John Gibbons said Martin's workload this season will largely depend on how much the catcher wants to take on, Corey Long of reports.

Gibbons' statement is encouraging for owners who drafted Martin. According to FanGraphs, the veteran has handled more innings than any other American League catcher over the past three seasons, and the addition of Jarred Saltalamacchia was seen as a move made to lessen the load on Martin. Volume is big factor in valuing today's fantasy catchers, and the 34-year-old will apparently have a chance to surpass 440 at-bats for a third straight campaign.

Blue Jays' Jarrod Saltalamacchia: Playing time in question
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(3/22/2017) Saltalamacchia's workload this season will heavily depend on how much work starter Russell Martin wants to take on, Corey Long of reports.

Manager John Gibbons said he isn't far from disclosing the Jays' planned pitching rotation this season. In the process of making that announcement, he will also figure out how he wants to utilize the backup catcher. The skipper added that he'll look to identify which pitcher Saltalamacchia meshes with best early in the campaign before making a set schedule for the catchers. Ultimately, though, the divvying of playing time will be up to Martin. "Really, it's going to revolve around Russ and when he needs a day," Gibbons said. In 2016, Martin logged his heaviest workload in seven season, but the gritty veteran is unlikely to cede any time behind the dish if he can avoid it. For now, Saltalamacchia is nothing more than a handcuff for Martin owners and a punt in daily leagues when he's called upon.

Rangers' Robinson Chirinos: Signs contract extension
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(3/21/2017) Chirinos agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Rangers on Tuesday that includes a club-option for 2019, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

The specifics of the deal haven't been announced yet, but the sides recently agreed to a one-year, $1.9 million deal to avoid arbitration in the offseason. The 32-year-old slashed .224/.314/.483 in 147 at-bats last season, and will serve as Jonathan Lucroy's backup in the coming season.

Astros' Max Stassi: Sent outright to Triple-A
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(3/21/2017) Stassi cleared waivers on Tuesday and was outrighted to Triple-A Fresno, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Stassi sits behind Brian McCann and Evan Gattis on the depth chart, so he was always an injury away from cracking the big league roster this season. The 26-year-old was out of minor league options, but the Astros were able to successfully pass him through waivers and keep him in the organization, where he'll head to Triple-A Fresno and serve as catching depth.

Orioles' Welington Castillo: Returning to spring games this week
by RotoWire Staff | Special to
(3/21/2017) Castillo, whose WBC team was eliminated from the tournament over the weekend, is expected to play in a Grapefruit League game in this week, MASN Sports reports.

Castillo did a fine job on the world stage for the Dominican Republic. He played in all six of the team's tournament games and, although he hit just .182, the catcher did hit a home run and tied for the team lead in RBI (5). Castillo will waste little time jumping back into spring training action as his participation in the tournament cost him valuable time at Orioles camp. The 29-year-old veteran has less than two weeks remaining to get acquainted with his new pitching staff before Opening Day.

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