FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Red Sox have just made Doug Mirabelli's release official. He was placed on unconditional release waivers.
Will he be back?
That all depends on how well Kevin Cash or Dusty Brown handle Tim Wakefield.
Wakefield endorsed Cash last season when Cash caught him and at that point it gave the Red Sox the thought that Cash could be a cheaper way to address the backup catcher role. Brown has caught minor league knuckleballer Charlie Zink.
Assistant GM Jed Hoyer was assigned this winter by Theo Epstein to find the team a backup catcher. But after a long and thorough search, Mirabelli was brought back at a salary of $550,000 which also included a $275,000 roster bonus, a $150,000 conditioning bonus and the possibility to earn $1.25 million in performance bonuses based mostly on games. Mirabelli, a member of the Red Sox since 2001, was hitting .273 with one RBI in 11 spring at-bats, while Cash is hitting .250 in 16 at-bats. Mirabelli was briefly dealt to San Diego in 2006 but reacquired when catcher Josh Bard struggled catching Wakefield's knuckleball.
Cash is a nonroster player, and he had not yet been upgraded to the roster. He appears to be a likely choice to be added, however.
The Sox replaced Mirabelli in the lineup with Brown, who is also considered a possible candidate for the major league club.