Dustin Pedroia making progress from concussion, expected to return Friday


Dustin Pedroia suffered a concussion last Saturday when he took a forearm to the head in a collision with Rays infielder Logan Forsythe at second base, but Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com reports that he’s expected to return tomorrow.

Pedroia dealt with dizziness and sleep problems initially and “didn’t feel quite right” when he tried to ramp up activities on Tuesday, but he was able to make it through his usual pre-game routine this afternoon at Yankee Stadium, including a full round of batting practice. He still has some hurdles to cross, but all signs point toward him being in the lineup for the start of a series against the Blue Jays in Fenway Park.

“We’ve got to get him one final medical exam tomorrow,” said John Farrell, “but at this point, things are looking like he’ll be on the field and in the lineup tomorrow.”

Pedroia, 31, is batting .280/.340/.379 with seven home runs and 51 RBI over 131 games this season. He’s still making contact as much as ever before, but he has struggled to rediscover his power since his thumb injury last year.

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.