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Ryan Lavarnway has reached a milestone he called one of his ‘highest priorities’

09.18.12 at 10:13 pm ET

Ryan Lavarnway

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Ryan Lavarnway wasn’t catching Tuesday night, but no matter. He had managed to hit his milestone.

By catching in the Red Sox’ win over the Rays Monday night, Lavarnway attained one of his chief goals heading into the 2012 season – he caught his 100th game.

“It says something about staying healthy,” the 25-year-old said. “This was one of my highest priorities and foremost goals coming into this season, catching 100 games.”

Making the feat even more impressive was that Lavarnway hadn’t caught more than 70 games in any previous season, totaling that career-high between the big leagues and the minors in ’11.

This season, Lavarway was given the opportunity to serve as the Pawtucket Red Sox’ primary backstop, catching 80 games while serving as the PawSox’ DH just three times.

With the Red Sox, Lavarnway – who weighs in at 236 pounds compared to the 254 he was at last September – has caught 20 games while manning the designated hitter role 12 games.

As a point of reference, the Red Sox’ everyday catchers for the past three seasons have totaled the following number of games behind the plate: Jason Varitek, 2009, 108; Victor Martinez, ’10, 110; Jarrod Saltamacchia, ’11, 101.

“I was very intimidated by it because at this point last year I felt terrible,” he said. “I caught 62 games but I had gotten a lot more at-bats because I was DHing every day.  But I can definitely say I feel better at this point than I did last year. I haven’t put on weight, I’ve stayed fit, I have better pre and post game routine, getting my body ready. I haven’t had a drink since January, because that isn’t going to help. I’m eating better.”

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