screen-shot-2017-04-04-at-7-19-52-pmBy Brian Danuff 3/27/2017

The Boston Red Sox took another step towards cementing their Opening Day roster.

On Monday, the team optioned catcher Blake Swihart and infielder Deven Marrero to Triple-A Pawtucket. They also reassigned first baseman Sam Travis and catcher Dan Butler to minor league camp, who were both non-roster invitees at spring training.

Despite a strong spring, Swihart was the only catcher with a minor league option remaining. He hit .325 in 14 spring training games, but it’ll be Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez who start the year as the catchers for the big league club. The 24-year-old should still find at-bats with the major league club in 2017. He has versatility, being able to play left field. Plus, both Leon and Vazquez have a history of injuries and Swihart will be ready and waiting, just a short drive from Fenway in Pawtucket.

Marrero, 26, was drafted by the Red Sox with the 24th overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft. He was at one point considered one of Boston’s top prospects, largely due to his fantastic defensive skills. Merrero is the definition of all field, no hit. His slash line leaves a lot to be desired, a paltry .246/.316/.329 in five minor league seasons. He even hit .198 in 96 games with Pawtucket in 2016.

Despite trading Yoan Moncada to the Chicago White Sox for Chris Sale, the Red Sox still boast a number of better infield prospects than Marrero. With Xander Bogaerts entrenched at shortstop for the foreseeable future, Marrero has a lot of work to do if he plans on succeeding with the Red Sox.

The Sox currently have 38 players remaining in spring training, which means they’ll have to cut 13 more in this final week before Opening Day.

They’ll open the season facing the Pittsburgh Pirates at Fenway Park on Monday. Reigning Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello gets the start for Boston, while Gerrit Cole will toe the rubber for Pittsburgh.


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