Red Sox manager Terry Francona implied this afternoon that the Red Sox will carry just two catchers in their first-round series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim but that George Kottaras will accompany the team on the road and Dusty Brown will be assigned to Fort Myers, Fla., just to keep him sharp.
"That gives us a guy that's been with us all year with us," Francona said, "and a guy that we think is a good defensive catcher continuing to catch so if we run into a problem with all these crazy start times, we have one guy with us and one guy preparing to be with us.
"Hopefully, we can make a choice, but sometimes with all these schedules are and with everything on the West coast, we have everything covered there."
A reporter asked Francona if Kottaras would be allowed to catch in the bullpen if he's not on the roster, and Francona gave no indication that Kottaras was a consideration to be on the roster.
"It's like a gentleman's agreement -- and the league is OK with it -- that you have (inactive) guys on the bench," Francona said. "You're allowed to have them there. I need to check about (the bullpen). That, actually, I don't know. If he is, we'd like him to do it. I don't know if they're allowed or not. It's not really a competitive advantage, but sometimes they have rules in play. (If they're on) the DL, you can't. We'll check."
The key phrase there is the one in the middle: "If he is (allowed to catch in the bullpen), we'd like him to do it."
That certainly makes it sound as if Kottaras will not be active as a third catcher.
That leaves only Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek as active catchers on the Red Sox roster for that series. The Red Sox carried three catchers against the Angels a year ago but seem to have settled on two catchers for this series. Could that mean new life for Manny Delcarmen? It certainly could.
Junichi Tazawa will accompany the team to California for Games 1 and 2 but go home to Japan from there. Tazawa, on the 60-day disabled list, isn't eligible for the roster, but the team wanted him to experience the postseason just a little bit before going home for the winter.
Brian Anderson and Joey Gathright both will accompany the team to Los Angeles. One of the two likely will make the roster, but it's hard to believe both will. Josh Reddick will join the team if J.D. Drew's shoulder is still an issue; if not, he'll go to Fort Myers to stay sharp just in case.
Pitchers Fernando Cabrera, Hunter Jones and Dustin Richardson all will head home at the conclusion of the season, but Michael Bowden will throw in Fort Myers in case the Red Sox need him.