|Red Sox name Dana Levangie bullpen coach||02.05.13 at 6:40 pm ET|
On the cusp of spring training, the Red Sox completed their coaching staff by announcing that longtime scout and staff member Dana Levangie will take over as the team’s bullpen coach and catching instructor, replacing Gary Tuck, who informed the team last week that he was retiring.
Levangie had spent the last seven years as a major league advance scout for the Red Sox. The familiarity with big league hitters that he’s gained in that job represented a considerable attribute for a man who will be charged with overseeing the preparation of relievers as they get ready to enter contests. Indeed, in the press release announcing the hiring of the 43-year-old Levangie, the Sox noted that he will continue to assist in the team’s advance scouting.
“We are extremely pleased to add Dana to the major league staff,” manager John Farrell said in the press release. “He has been a valuable asset to the Red Sox in a variety of roles and his vast knowledge of the Major Leagues, particularly the American League, will enable him to make an impact on our staff and with our bullpen.”
Including his playing career, Levangie has spent 22 years in professional baseball, all of them in the Red Sox organization. He was selected by the team in the 14th round of the 1991 draft and spent parts of six years in the organization, reaching Triple-A for a pair of brief stints. In 1997, he left behind his playing career to become the bullpen catcher in the big leagues for the Sox, a role in which he spent the next eight seasons. In 2005, he moved to pro scouting before joining the advance scouting staff in 2006, a role in which he’s regularly interacted with the big league club.
Levangie emerged from a group of internal candidates that also included minor league catching instructor Chad Epperson and Double-A hitting coach Rich Gedman. His familiarity with big league hitters proved the decisive factor in his selection.
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|Jason Varitek not a likely candidate to replace Gary Tuck||01.30.13 at 3:06 pm ET|
There will come a time, and it may be in the near future, that former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek can commence his big league coaching career with virtually his pick of jobs. But for now, even though the Red Sox have a newly created need for a bullpen coach and catching instructor on their big league staff with the sudden retirement of Gary Tuck, it does not appear that Varitek is being considered — or even wants to be considered — for a full-time return to uniform, according to a major league source.
Varitek retired because he wanted to spend time with his family, and while the 40-year-old embraced the opportunity to return to the Sox as a special assistant to GM Ben Cherington, that job seemingly represents the work-life balance that Varitek would like to maintain for now. There’s little question that a coaching future is available to him, but for the present, he’s likely to remain in his role.
That, in turn, means that the Sox must work to find a replacement for Tuck with less than two weeks before the official reporting date for pitchers and catchers. Given that compressed timetable, while the Sox had yet to contact candidates about interviews as of Wednesday afternoon, the team plans to select from an internal pool of candidates already within the organization.
Three stand out as fairly obvious:
– Chad Epperson spent the last two years as the Sox’ roving catching instructor, a capacity in which he’s worked with the likes of Ryan Lavarnway and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (as well as minor leaguers such as Dan Butler, Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart) for years. Last year, when Tuck had to take a leave of absence for personal reasons, Epperson joined the big league staff as his fill-in. He also knows a number of the team’s homegrown pitchers, having coached or managed players like Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Daniel Bard, Ryan Kalish, Felix Doubront and Daniel Nava while they were coming up through the system. Read the rest of this entry »
|Trio of backstop prospects catching on||08.27.09 at 6:31 pm ET|
The Red Sox just may have better catching than we thought.
Since acquiring Victor Martinez on July 31, the Sox now have two All-Star catchers who figure to be under Boston’s control through the 2010 season. In addition, the team will have some decisions to make regarding George Kottaras, who was placed on the DL on August 1 with with a lower back sprain and has played his last nine games in Pawtucket. Amongst all the bodies in the system, who is the team’s catcher of the future?
“Mark Wagner,” says a source within the organization with what can only be perceived as the utmost confidence.
Of course, that source within the organization happens to be one Mark Wagner himself, and unfortunately for the 25-year-old, it’s not that simple. Looking at the system as a whole, Wagner isn’t the only minor-league catcher jumping off the page. In fact, he may not even be Boston’s catching prospect. With both Double A Portland’s Luis Exposito and High A Salem’s Tim Federowicz also making great strides, the spot’s future is uncertain to say the least.
In short, Wagner brings to the table great game-calling ability, a plus pop time, a streaky bat, and outstanding confidence. Exposito brings size, outstanding defensive abilities, and a bat that has hit for average (.290 over the last two seasons). Additionally, Exposito brings a level of professionalism uncharacteristic of someone who was suspended for nearly all of the ’07 season for attitude problems. Federowicz, like Wagner, calls an excellent game, has a gun for an arm and has surprised Boston with offensive growth. Read the rest of this entry »
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