|Jarrod Saltalamacchia: ‘It feels good’ to have Jason Varitek back in camp||02.19.13 at 3:54 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The irony of the situation was rich Tuesday.
Jason Varitek, the former Red Sox captain, was in front of the pitcher’s mound on Field ‘2’ throwing pitches to catchers, observing how they called defensive signals, received the ball and threw to second and third base. Manager John Farrell and new bullpen coach Dana LeVangie was a close observer.
For 14 years, from 1998-2011, Varitek was the backbone of the Red Sox battery as its primary catcher. Now he wants to impart wisdom.
‘It feels good, having a guy like him that you respected growing up and got to play with him,” Jarrod Saltalamacchia said Tuesday. “It’s nice having him out there because he’s a guy that I’ve gone to in the past and I can still go to him. He’s there but you don’t feel like he’s stepping on anybody’s toes. He’s there for them, which is special.’
Saltalamacchia joined Varitek on the bench as Ryan Lavarnway was the starting catcher for the last game of Varitek’s career, Sept. 28, 2011, when the Red Sox lost their season finale and their season in Baltimore.
After taking 2012 off to spend time with his family, Varitek is back as a “special assistant” to general manager Ben Cherington. On Monday it was Pedro Martinez – another “special assistant” – showing his willingness to give back to Red Sox Nation. On Tuesday, Varitek appeared on the practice fields.
“I would say it’s very similar,” Farrell said. “You’ve got two very successful players who have been leaders in their own right at their respective positions. They’ve achieved team success as much as anybody has ever played in this game, particularly in this uniform. They’re both so well respected and I think they’re so respective of the city of Boston, the organization, they want to give back. They have a great opportunity to do just that. I know that Tek, even in his last couple of years, Salty would pick his brain a lot. And now Tek has the ability to do that on a broader scale. Most importantly, they both want to give back, and I think it’s a great thing.”
|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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|Red Sox Head Out of G.M. Meetings||11.11.09 at 1:47 pm ET|
— There still is no word on Jason Varitek, who has until midnight to activate his $3 million player option. The deadline is such since the Red Sox had informed the catcher that they wouldn’t be picking up the $5 million team option last Friday.
— Epstein met with Varitek’s agent, Scott Boras, for approximately 30 minutes Tuesday night, during which time the catcher was the primary topic of conversation.
— Epstein talked with Billy Wagner‘s agent, Bean Stringfellow, Tuesday night regarding the reliever’s openness to accepting arbitration if/when the Sox offer it. The Red Sox would be open to having Wagner back, but on terms that would allow his contract to fit in the construction of their roster. There is no level the Sox would have to adhere to when it came to the dollar figure they would offer in an arbitration case.
— The Red Sox have re-hired former advance scout Todd Claus, who had been the head coach at Jacksonville University, to become an international scout.
— The Sox plan on re-implementing the two-man advance scouting system they had used prior to Claus leaving, before the 2009 season. Dana Levangie will continue in his role as one of the advance scouts, with the team filling the other job in the near future.
— Lowell manager Gary DiSarcina has been reassigned to become a roving infield instructor, and is still in the mix to fill a position on the major league club’s coaching staff. Epstein plans on interviewing candidates for that coaching spot over the next few days.
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