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New catcher Sandy Leon jumps right into action

Rays right fielder Brandon Guyer fouls off a ball that hits new Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon during the fourth inning.Kim Klement/USA Today

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Sandy Leon is getting crash course in Red Sox Pitching 101.

Likely to be Ryan Hanigan’s backup with Christian Vazquez (elbow) possibly out for a long time depending on what Dr. James Andrews recommends at Wednesday’s appointment, Leon caught five innings in Boston’s 11-8 exhibition win Tuesday over Tampa Bay.

Leon, a switch hitter purchased from the Nationals Monday, had a hit and caught four Sox relievers.

“In my first at-bat I was anxious — I want a hit, I want a hit. The next one I just took it easy and got a hit,” Leon said.


He had two hiccups behind the plate, when he mishandled Tommy Layne’s slider — he said he didn’t see it — and boxed an Anthony Varvaro curveball, which allowed a runner to advance.

Manager John Farrell isn’t expecting miracles from Leon, realizing he’s going to have to do a lot of video work, talk a lot to the pitchers, and get up to snuff on signs in a very short period of time. Bringing a catcher in this late is always difficult.

Leon said the Sox brass already has pumped him for information on Washington’s hitters. The Sox see the Nationals on Opening Day at Fenway Park.

“It looked like he had a pretty good feel for reading some swings and receiving guys he’s never seen before,” Farrell said. “He’s quiet behind the plate. Those are things we saw that are pretty clear in our scouting reports prior to getting him.”

Vazquez positive

Vazquez took batting practice in the cage Tuesday morning before heading to Pensacola, Fla., for his appointment with Andrews to determine whether he’ll need Tommy John surgery. Vazquez said he didn’t yet have a sense of whether he would require the season-ending procedure.

“I don’t know yet. That’s why I’m going to Dr. Andrews, see what he says,” said Vazquez, who will miss a minimum of two months now that he’s on the 60-day DL.


“It [stinks] to stay out that long,” said Vazquez. “It’s hard. I was feeling better every day, but they found something changed in my MRI.”

Yet as much as Vazquez is disappointed with what has transpired, he’s electing to look forward. “I’m positive,” he said. “My mind is clear.”

Catcher Humberto Quintero accepted a $100,000 retention bonus and will stay with the organization. It appears the Sox may want Quintero around for Pawtucket.

Handling with care

So when will David Ortiz play first base in a game to get ready for the opening series vs. the Phillies? Farrell had said he wanted Ortiz to play some first to get him acclimated.

“That’s a possibility,” the manager said. “What we want to be sure of is that we don’t do something late in camp that might take away from him being season-ready. We haven’t ruled definitely one way or another. Ideally, yeah, he gets on the field so we have him at first base Opening Day at Philadelphia. But I don’t want to rush into something in three days and do something that affects a number of games going forward.”

Farrell also said he didn’t know about Ortiz playing all three games in Philadelphia, since that would mean Mike Napoli would have to sit. He also didn’t think that facing Phillies lefty Cole Hamels would mean Ortiz not playing on Opening Day.


“I’m not going to worry about David no matter who’s pitching,’’ Farrell said.

Miley: Good outingLefthander Wade Miley threw 98 pitches (66 strikes) over seven innings in a Triple A game, permitting one run on four hits and two walks while striking out five. After the outing, Miley said that he’ll make his first regular-season start in the second series of the season, in New York against the Yankees. Hanigan, who caught Miley in the minor league game, went 0 for 5 with a walk and strikeout . . . Farrell is pleased with the improvement by Brandon Workman. “His last two outings have been much better,” the manager said. “Seemingly there’s more direction with his delivery. He’s giving off mound presence of greater conviction and aggressiveness, controlled aggression, and it’s resulted in the quality of strikes he’s thrown. One of the points of emphasis coming into camp was he had to do a better job of throwing ball downhill and pounding the bottom of the strike zone. The way he was going about it, his arm slot crept up higher where it was more over the top. He had a tendency to tilt his shoulders which didn’t allow him to work as freely and generate the arm speed as normal. There’s been a counter adjustment the last two outings. We’re seeing the velocity creep up there and the overall sharpness to his pitches.”

Uehara is evaluated Koji Uehara continues to long toss. His hamstring injury just may take longer than expected to heal because a pitcher’s legs are so important. “That was the extent of his throwing today,” Farrell said. “[It’s] a day-to-day type thing depending on how his hamstring feels and the intensity he’ll throw in a given session.” Farrell said the Red Sox want to evaluate Uehara over the next few days and determine whether it’s best for him to stay in Fort Myers or go with the team to Philadelphia. Even if he rehabs with the team, he won’t be ready for Opening Day . . . Reliever Matt Barnes was feeling better after a couple of down days with food poisoning. He has a shot of making the team . . . The Red Sox released veteran righty Felipe Paulino . . . Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington was at the game and met with Farrell afterward. He likely was talking with Farrell about the final roster and whether there’s anything brewing in trades. One thing the team may be looking for is a reliever, especially if Uehara is out longer than thought.

Alex Speier contributed to this report from Fort Myers, Fla. Nick Cafardo can be reached at cafardo@globe.com.