Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez hopes to be in the lineup for Thursday’s season opener against the Baltimore Orioles despite needing stitches after he was hit in the face by a baseball last week. John Bazemore/Associated Press

Christian Vázquez started off his media session Monday by asking: “You like my scar?”

Vázquez was struck in the eye with a ball during a practice Thursday.

“I’m doing good,” Vázquez said. “My eye is good. I can see perfect.”

Vázquez has another eye appointment Wednesday. He’s scheduled to have his stitches removed Thursday and replaced with butterfly stitches. Opening Day is Thursday vs. the Orioles at Fenway Park.

“My wife like it (the cut), so we’re good,” he joked.

It happened during a fielding drill for pitchers on one of the backfields at the JetBlue Park complex. Vázquez was looking toward first base.


Hirokazu Sawamura thought Vázquez was looking at him and threw the ball home.

Vázquez was wearing sunglasses.

“The sunglasses saved my eye,” he said. “If I don’t have the sunglasses, it was a different story.”

Vázquez thinks he will be ready for Opening Day.

“Yeah, I hit today in the cage,” he said. “I went to the B-game today to track some pitches.”

He also caught Eduardo Rodriguez’s bullpen session Monday without the eye bothering him.


“I’m 99% (sure) I can go Thursday,” Vázquez said.

Cora added, “We feel comfortable, but at the same time, he actually has to do some tests on Wednesday with the eye doctor. So it’s one of those where we’re not 100% sure he’ll be there but there’s a pretty good chance he’ll play on Thursday.”

If Vázquez isn’t available for Opening Day, either Connor Wong or Ronaldo Hernández would begin the season on the 26-man roster as Kevin Plawecki’s backup. Wong and Hernández both are on the 40-man roster.

SO MUCH for the COVID-19 outbreak at Red Sox camp.

Two days after it was revealed that reliever Matt Barnes tested positive and eight others who were in close contact were being separated from the rest of the team, the Red Sox announced that Barnes and the others could return to camp.

“Matt and the contacts are cleared,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom texted the Boston Herald on Monday.


Bloom offered no further details and deferred to Manager Alex Cora, who didn’t have much to share about it after the Sox’ 4-0 win over the Braves.

“I just heard about it,” Cora said. “I haven’t talked to (anyone in the front office), but I know he got cleared by the (MLB joint committee), so I don’t know about the details. I’m just happy that he’s going to be back with us and it seems like we’re going to be at full strength in a few days.”

The New York Post reported that Barnes’ test result was a “non-infectious positive,” though it remains unclear what that means. The Boston Globe reported that Barnes had tested negative multiple times after the original positive.

Cora said earlier Monday morning that Barnes wasn’t feeling any symptoms, feels great and was surprised by the positive test.

“He had the interview and he explained to everybody what he’s done and where he’s been,” Cora said. “He’s been very solid about keeping the protocols and the guidelines.”

Barnes wasn’t scheduled to fly with the team back to Boston on Tuesday, but plans could change. It remains unclear if he’ll be ready to pitch on Opening Day.


“I think it’s too soon to make decisions,” Cora said. “I’m just happy that they’re gonna be with us, that’s the most important thing.”

Garrett Richards had been one of the eight in close contact with Barnes, and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to make his first start.

“He stayed at home,” Cora said. “Probably he was throwing against the wall, I don’t know. I haven’t talked to him about any specifics, but I’m about to find out.”

THE RED SOX don’t believe Eduardo Rodriguez is dealing with a serious injury, but the team is still going to be careful with the left-hander as he works his way back from the case of “dead arm” that caused him to be scratched from his scheduled Opening Day start.

Rodriguez, who came out of a 36-pitch bullpen session feeling strong on Saturday, threw another session Monday. Though Rodriguez seems to be progressing back to full strength, it seems unlikely that the Red Sox will push him to pitch during their opening series against the Orioles.

“We’re running out of time,” Cora said Monday morning. “He’s not going to be able to face hitters in a game situation. We’re going to be smart with him. Let’s see how he feels after this one. Obviously, we’ll make decisions accordingly.

“One thing for sure, we’re not going to rush him. He’s an important part of what we’re trying to accomplish and for what he went through last year, his body, him and the testing that we do after bullpens and the next day will dictate what we do in the near future. We’re comfortable that this is something that’s not going to take long. We’ve just got to be smart with it.”

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