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Nationals trade catcher Sandy Leon to the Red Sox

Catcher Sandy Leon, signed by the Nationals as a free agent from Venezuela in 2007, was traded to the Red Sox. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)
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UPDATED, 10:05 a.m.

The Nationals have traded catcher Sandy Leon to the Red Sox, Leon told James Wagner at Space Coast Stadium this morning. The Red Sox announced they sent cash to the Nationals for Leon.

Washington traded with the Red Sox for a catcher this offseason, sending minor league pitcher Danny Rosenbaum to Boston for veteran catcher Dan Butler. Butler spent the first few weeks of spring training in big-league camp before being re-assigned to minor league camp and Class AAA Syracuse.

The Red Sox suddenly had a need for catching depth when starter Christian Vazquez’s elbow injury began to look more serious than anticipated. Vazquez will see Dr. James Andrews in Florida this week, and was placed on the 60-day disabled list. That injury left Boston with backup Ryan Hanigan and the prospect of recalling top prospect Blake Swihart, the 23-year-old who was re-assigned to the minors earlier this month. In Leon, the Red Sox get depth that can help in the major leagues until Vazquez is ready, or provide depth in the minors in case Swihart is not.

I was kinda surprised,” Leon said. “It feels kinda weird. I’ve been here for (eight) years. They trade me to another team. It’s going to be good for me to get an opportunity with another team, just being in the big leagues with whatever team.”

Leon said he was told about the trade this morning, and has not been told whether the Red Sox will send him to the majors or the minors. He also said he played this spring training understanding that such a move could be coming. At 26, Leon is out of options, annually the last catcher returned to the minor leagues, and is the third catcher behind Wilson Ramos and his backup — most recently Jose Lobaton. Leon played in 34 major league games with the Nationals between 2012 and 2014, hitting .189 with a home run.

“It was awesome. A really good team. Really good organization,” Leon said. “All the coaches. I know all the coaches. Bobby Henley, Matt LeCroy, Randy Knorr has been really good. I’ve been here a lot of years. They have helped me as a player, as a person. I thank the Nationals for everything.”

No word yet on what the Nationals get in exchange for Leon, though we will pass along those details as soon as they are available.