PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina hired as Angels third base coach
|11.05.13 at 2:11 pm ET|
Multiple industry sources have confirmed a report by Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com that the Angels have hired Gary DiSarcina — who spent 2013 as the manager of the Red Sox’ Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket — as their third base coach.
DiSarcina, 45, led the PawSox to an 80-53 record, a first-place finish in the International League’s North division and a spot in the Governor’s Cup championship series. But more significantly from the Red Sox perspective, in tandem with pitching coach Rich Sauveur and hitting coach Dave Joppie, he proved a critical contributor to the development of a number of key prospects during the season.
“DiSar is a really loose and upbeat personality, one who connects with a lot of different types of people well. That was absolutely one of his strengths throughout the year, especially coming in and not having managed at that level,” Sox farm director Ben Crockett recently noted. “It was impressive the way he took charge, got guys’ respect quickly but also managed different egos — both older players and younger prospects. He really did a nice job of dealing with challenges as they appeared.”
His imprint may have been most dramatic with infielder Jose Iglesias, who was admittedly disappointed after being sent to Triple-A following a strong start in early April, at a time when Stephen Drew was on the DL. Iglesias struggled not just offensively but also with his effort level in Triple-A, failing to run out grounders on multiple occasions.
DiSarcina pulled Iglesias in the middle of a game after one such incident, and the shortstop sat out of the next three games. But DiSarcina presented the approach not as a benching or a punishment, but instead an opportunity for Iglesias to catch his breath, to return to playing with the energy and joy that are often associated with the 23-year-old.
Iglesias did just that, while also taking well to his introduction to other positions as he started to take grounders at third and second base with DiSarcina. Iglesias’ adaptation to third proved critical, as he became the Sox’ everyday third baseman for a key stretch in June and July, not only becoming a key contributor to the Sox for that two-month stretch but also restoring his trade value to the point where he could turn into the key cog in a deal that landed the Sox right-hander Jake Peavy.
Iglesias, of course, deserved the lion’s share of the credit for putting himself in the position to thrive in the big leagues, but he noted that DiSarcina’s management of him had a positive impact.
“There’s no doubt, I was frustrated at the time for some reasons. I was frustrated, disappointed. I think he did the right thing. I got benched for a few days just to regroup, and I think it really worked,” the 23-year old explained this summer, at a time when he was amidst a torrid stretch in the big leagues. “He decided to give me three days, and I’m glad he gave me those few days, because that put my mind in the right place again to be where I am and to perform the way I’ve been doing. I’m glad he made that decision. I think Gary’s a great manager and he did the right thing.”
DiSarcina likewise commanded the trust of Will Middlebrooks when the third baseman — who made his pro debut with the Lowell Spinners in 2008 when DiSarcina was his manager — was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, and worked with Xander Bogaerts to prepare the prospect prodigy for a big league callup that would feature work at third base in addition to his primary position of shortstop.
Beyond his work in terms of player development, DiSarcina also served as a critical and trusted voice for player evaluation when the Sox were making decisions about whom to promote.
“To me, what stood out the most was that when you pressed him, ‘I need to know this,’ there was never any wavering,” Sox manager John Farrell noted recently. “It was clear, it was concise and as accurate as it could be. What we saw come to life was spot on.”
DiSarcina returned to the Red Sox in 2013 — the organization for whom he managed from 2007-09 and served as a roving infield coordinator in 2010 — after spending 2011 and 2012 as a special assistant to the GM with the Angels. He now returns to the Halos, the organization for whom he played for all 12 of his big league seasons from 1989-2000.
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