With Wakefield out, it's time to give the kids a shot

Is it getting Dusty in here?

No, I'm not talking about pitchers.

Since 2003, the Red Sox have felt the need to assign their backup catcher to near-exclusive duty as Tim Wakefield's personal knuckleball valet. With the exception of Doug Mirabelli's crazy-good 2004, that has meant that the Red Sox (like most teams, to be totally fair) have found themselves carrying an offensively-deficient glove man.

Currently, that man is Kevin Cash, he of the career line of .179/.237/.279. But with Wakefield currently on the disabled list and Charlie Zink not looking like he'll make another start any time soon, Cash's main purpose on the roster - specifically the ability to successfully catch a knuckleball - is rendered moot. While the Sox likely would not want to lose Cash's services should Wake recover in time for a playoff start - assuming there are playoffs in the Sox' future, they could perhaps find some space on the roster (Cash could go down with a phantom injury perhaps?) to call up either George Kottaras or Dusty Brown from Pawtucket to give them an extended audition and see what they can produce at the Major League level.

One of the more interesting situations with the Red Sox these days is the future of the catching situation - Jason Varitek has not had a good year (on or off the field) and, at his age, the next few years don't look too bright either. Around the league, he's revered for his ability to handle a pitching staff, and so because of that, it's probably for the best if the Red Sox try to find a way to keep Varitek - an impending free agent - around next season. But surely not at the rate of his current contract, and, ideally, he wouldn't be starting four out of five games in 2009. An ideal situation would involve Varitek handling a reduced workload while also mentoring a young backstop - grooming his own replacement, essentially. Many assume that replacement would come from outside the organization, someone like Texas's Jarrod Saltalamacchia or the St. Louis' Bryan Anderson. But with Brown and Kottaras both hitting acceptably well in Pawtucket, why not see what they can provide first? 

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