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March 16, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Butler, Wilson optioned to Pawtucket

The Red Sox announced today that they have optioned catcher Dan Butler and right-handed relief pitcher Alex Wilson (pictured) to Triple-A Pawtucket. Both players had strong springs and showed the Red Sox that they are capable depth options should a need arise.

Relief pitching was one of the areas the Red Sox had the most depth coming into the spring, and thus Wilson was not able to crack the major league squad even after a strong spring. In his 7 2/3 innings he allowed only one run to go along with nine strikeouts and two walks. Wilson is also on the 40-man roster and if the Red Sox had injuries to their right-handed relievers instead of currently-injured lefties Craig Breslow and Franklin Morales then he may have been able to crack the opening day bullpen.

Butler went 3 for 10 this spring, with a double, a walk and four strikeouts. His bat was solid, but what earned him a spot on the 40-man roster this offseason and continues to impress people is his considerable defensive ability. His bat is not elite but his defensive is strong enough that he likely has a role on a team as a backup catcher. The Red Sox will start the season with  Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Ross as their major league catchers, and Ryan Lavarnway likely starting at Triple-A where Butler will serve as his backup. Lavarnway is an offense-first catcher, and therefore has different strengths than Butler and that could be a factor in the future depending on the needs of the major league team.

The catching depth fueled many trade rumors this off-season, and right-hander Alfredo Aceves has also been a subject of rumors after his erratic behavior. With depth at both those positions, the Red Sox are now in a position of strength going into the season, giving them the depth to deal with injuries or explore trade opportunities.

Photo Credits: Alex Wilson by Kelly O' Connor

Will Woodward is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @SPWill.