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Farrell lays out Vazquez/Ross timeshare

7/12/2014

HOUSTON -- After a breakout night on Friday from catcher Christian Vazquez, Red Sox manager John Farrell was asked how excited he is to see the rookie phenom play in the second half of the season.

"I'm looking forward to seeing him play on Sunday," Farrell said with a grin before Saturday's game against the Houston Astros.

Farrell laid out his vision for how Vazquez will share time with veteran David Ross behind the plate moving forward. After the Red Sox return from the All-Star break next week, Vazquez will start for three of the five starters in the rotation, with Ross handling Jake Peavy and Jon Lester.

After Vazquez caught Rubby De La Rosa in his major league debut on Wednesday and John Lackey in his 3-for-4, three-RBI performance on Friday night, the rookie has received high praise all around.

"Guys on the mound know he cares and they feel that," Farrell said. "I think that goes a long way."

• While Farrell was prepared to discuss his plans for how the catching rotation will work after the break, he was not ready to lay out his plan for the starting pitching rotation on Saturday. He said those plans might be made available Sunday before he heads to Minneapolis to manage the American League All-Star team.

Farrell, however, did make one thing perfectly clear -- lefty Felix Doubront will remain in the bullpen for the time being.

After opening the season as the club's No. 3 starter, the 26-year-old was moved to the bullpen two weeks ago. Doubront expressed his disappointment with the decision, but Farrell reiterated his stance Saturday, that Doubront will remain in the bullpen.

"That's our plan right now," Farrell said. "The rotation is what it is."

Doubront is 2-4 with a 5.17 ERA. Farrell complimented his most recent relief appearance on Monday against the White Sox, when Doubront pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out one.

• Farrell spoke highly of the importance of the Red Sox defense, particularly in the middle of the field, from behind the plate with Ross and Vazquez, all the way out to the extensive range of Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field.

"The center of the diamond is the backbone of your defense," Farrell said. "We've got two catchers that have the ability to shut down a running game."

• After a hot start to the season, rookie shortstop Xander Bogaerts is in a major slump.

Over his last 27 games, Bogaerts is hitting .090 and slugging .120 with just one extra-base hit, four RBIs and four walks with 31 strikeouts in 105 plate appearances. It's a stark contrast to the first two months of the season, when he hit .299 and boasted a .452 slugging percentage with five home runs, 17 doubles and 17 RBIs.

Still, Farrell said he's sticking with the rookie.

"What's right for our team, long-term, is to get a productive Xander Bogaerts," Farrell said. "We've done some things here recently in a pinch-hit situation to win a ballgame. That may be the case going forward, but we won't lose sight that we still have confidence and know that he's going to be an impact player. We're working through some things to get there."

Bogaerts will hit sixth on Saturday, when the Red Sox send Peavy to the mound in search of their first four-game winning streak since June 1.

Here's the full lineup:

1. Brock Holt, SS

2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B

3. David Ortiz, DH

4. Mike Napoli, 1B

5. Jonny Gomes, LF

6. Xander Bogaerts, 3B

7. David Ross, C

8. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

9. Mookie Betts, RF

Jake Peavy, SP