BOSTON -- Red Sox catcher David Ross was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a serious bout of plantar fasciitis in his right heel, and the team has recalled catcher Dan Butler from Triple-A Pawtucket.
Ross has been dealing with the injury for a while and was clearly in pain after attempting to leg out a ground ball in the bottom of the sixth inning during Boston’s 4-3 win over the New York Yankees Friday night at Fenway Park. He was out on the play and needed assistance getting off the field and down the dugout stairs, and was removed from the game.
“Everything points toward that tendon having let go last night, which, in this case, is a positive,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “How many days it takes to recover -- we’ll see. The 15 days should hopefully help this quiet down to the point of returning.”
Butler, 27, has spent his entire pro career in the minors and this is his first trip to the big leagues. He was a backup catcher at the University of Arizona and went undrafted, before the Red Sox signed him on July 28, 2009.
He has played at every level in the Red Sox’s minor league system, and has spent the last two seasons with the PawSox. Butler is knowledgeable and considered a solid receiver by many on the Red Sox pitching staff.
“He’s had to earn things a little bit more because he hasn’t had the pedigree coming out of the draft or a large investment in him,” Farrell said.
Farrell added that Butler has withstood the durability test, the game-calling test, and he’s a testament to all the hard work he’s put in at the minor league level. “Certainly there is ability there, there is physical ability, we know that,” added Farrell. “There is talent there, but to achieve where he has come from, it is a heck of a story.”
In 76 games this season for the PawSox, Butler hit .227 with 17 doubles, four home runs, and 28 RBIs. Defensively, he has a strong, accurate arm and has thrown out 27 percent (13-of-48) of potential base stealers this season at Pawtucket.
In 2013, he hit .262 with 14 homers, 84 RBIs, and a team-leading .479 slugging percentage in his first full season at Triple-A. In 490 career minor league games, Butler has a .254 average and has thrown out 166 of 530 attempted basestealers.
Butler has attended the last three big league spring training camps for the Red Sox and has impressed.
“He’s always had a strong reputation of handling pitchers and his game calling,” Farrell said. “In some ways it’s a real success story when you factor in he’s been a non-drafted free agent signed out of the Cape Cod league. Was a backup catcher in college. With all of his work it’s paid off to realize a major league opportunity.”
Butler joins catching prospect Christian Vazquez as the two catchers on the roster for the Red Sox. Having both in the mix will help with all the young pitchers the Red Sox have used, and will continue to lean on, from Triple-A this season. As far as playing time for both, Farrell said that has yet to be determined.