Jason Heyward is who we thought he is…

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Thumbnail image for jason heyward first homer.jpgA 20-year-old rookie. Jason Heyward got his rudest awakening yet during Friday’s extra-inning 5-4 loss to the Giants, going 0-for-5 with four strikeouts and a walk.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the San Jose Mercury news that they intended to pitch the rookie phenom “under the ground,” and they did just that, getting him to strike out four times swinging, three of them on pitches in the dirt. After Friday’s action, Heyward is hitless in his last 11 at-bats. He has an 8-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his first 17 major league at-bats.

According to what he told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, Heyward understands that it’s all about adjustments from here on out:

“A game like this, if you don’t learn from it, you don’t do anyone a
favor,” said Heyward, 20. “That’s what baseball’s about. That’s what
life’s about. Adjustments. Learn from it. Be more patient. Get a feel
for the strike zone.”

Friday’s starter Jonathan Sanchez told the Chronicle that he saw a similar pattern emerge after Pablo Sandoval’s initial success:

“It’s what happened to Pablo (Sandoval) in the beginning. They were
throwing it in the dirt, and he was swinging at everything. He made

Red Sox sign Christian Vazquez to three-year, $13.55 million extension

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The Red Sox signed catcher Christian Vazquez to a three-year, $13.55 million extension, per a team announcement on Saturday. The agreement will keep Vazquez under contract through the 2021 season and covers two years of arbitration eligibility and the catcher’s first year of free agency. It comes with a $7 million club option (and $250,000 buyout) for 2022 that could get bumped up to $8 million if he reaches 502 plate appearances in both 2020 and 2021. Vazquez has also volunteered to make an annual donation to the Red Sox Foundation as part of his new arrangement with the club.

The 27-year-old backstop is entering his fourth year with the Red Sox in 2018. He’s been a steady defender behind the dish over the last three years and was ranked fifth-best in defense among all American League catchers at the end of the 2017 season. He also enjoyed a breakout performance at the plate, slashing a career-best .290/.330/.404 with five home runs and a .735 OPS in 345 plate appearances.

Come Opening Day, Vazquez is expected to be the Red Sox’ primary option behind the plate, with veteran Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart poised to start in backup roles. Swihart is out of options, but has been groomed for a utility role this spring and could take a few reps in the left field and the infield corners if need be, as it doesn’t appear the club is prepared to trade him just yet.