WONG GETS A CHANCE
While this isn’t the way he would have wished for it to happen, catcher Connor Wong got a chance for a couple of games this week to try to prove to the Red Sox that he can be a significant part of the team’s future.
When Kevin Plawecki and Christian Vázquez tested positive for COVID-19 within 24 hours of each other on Monday and Tuesday, Boston’s catching depth was depleted for the short term.
That gave Wong the chance to start on Tuesday and Wednesday night against the Blue Jays. Vázquez was reinstated to the roster prior to Wednesday’s game, which means Wong might not get another start on this stint on the roster. The team is optimistic Plawecki will also make a quick recovery.
Wong is someone the Red Sox were excited about when they acquired him along with Alex Verdugo and Jeter Downs in the deal that sent Mookie Betts to the Dodgers in February of 2020.
It should be noted that Vázquez, the starting catcher for the Red Sox since 2017, and Plawecki, a respected backup for the club the last three seasons, are both eligible for free agency at the end of ’22.
Will Wong be ready to take over at least part of the club’s catching duties for ’23 and beyond? The next few days bear watching.
“I think it’s a good opportunity, but like I said, the main objective is just to win as many games as we can and while I’m here, that’s what I’m going to do,” Wong said. “So if I perform well, and we win, it’s even better.”
Thus far, it has been challenging for the Red Sox to get a firm read on who Wong can be. Of course, 2020 was a lost year for all Minor Leaguers, as they didn’t have a season due to the pandemic.
And due to the threat of COVID last season, Wong was most often on the taxi squad in Boston, robbing him of development time at Triple-A. Wong also missed the first month of ’21 with a hamstring injury.
In 50 games for Worcester last season, Wong had 199 at-bats, slashing .256/.288/.442 with eight homers, 26 RBIs and seven stolen bases.
“He’s a good defender. Something about him, he’s very calm. He doesn’t panic out there. His swing plays. He has some pop,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora.
Wong held his own in his start on Tuesday night, hitting the game-winning sacrifice fly and handling the pitching staff well against a top offensive club in Toronto for a 2-1 win.
This stint, however brief, could give the Red Sox something to think about going forward.