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Red Sox call up C Ryan Lavarnway, send P Alex Wilson to Pawtucket 05.26.14 at 10:39 am ET
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Ryan Lavarnway

Ryan Lavarnway

The Red Sox on Monday called up catcher Ryan Lavarnway from Triple-A Pawtucket in advance of their series against the Braves.

Right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was sent to Pawtucket to clear room on the roster.

Lavarnway has appeared in 44 games for the PawSox this season, batting .265/.357/.346 with two home runs and 11 RBIs. He saw 25 games in the majors for the Red Sox last season, hitting .299/.329/.429 with one home run and 14 RBIs. He also had brief stints with the major league squad in 2012 and ’11.

Wilson pitched a scoreless sixth inning — allowing just a walk — in Sunday’s 8-5 loss to the Rays, his only major league appearance this season. He previously appeared in 18 games for the PawSox, posting a 1-0 record, 1.42 ERA and 1.263 WHIP.

Wilson saw action in 26 games for the Red Sox last season, posting a 1-2 record with a 4.88 ERA and 1.735 WHIP in 27 2/3 innings.

Read More: alex wilson, ryan lavarnway,
Red Sox minor league roundup: Allen Webster finds the strike zone; Brian Johnson cruising; a Mookie Betts slump looks different 05.10.14 at 9:34 am ET
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Right-hander Allen Webster has been limiting his walks of late. (AP)

Right-hander Allen Webster has been limiting his walks of late. (AP)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Friday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 5-0 WIN AT LOUISVILLE (REDS)

(BOX)

– Right-hander Allen Webster tossed five shutout innings, working around six hits (all singles) and a walk while striking out three. He threw 56 of 87 pitches (64 percent) for strikes, continuing to show evidence of improved control and ability to throw strikes this season as compared to a year ago. On the season, Webster is throwing strikes at a 62 percent rate, up from 59 percent in 2013. He has four straight starts of two or fewer walks, having issued six free passes in his last 24 frames (2.25 per nine), with a 2.25 ERA during that stretch. Though his strikeout rate is down this year from 9.9 per nine innings to just 5.3 per nine innings, he’s shown an ability to work deeper into games on a more consistent basis, having pitched six or more innings four times in eight starts, after doing so just six times in 21 starts in 2013.

– First baseman Ryan Lavarnway went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts, and he’s now hitting .258/.346/.333 — numbers very similar to the .250/.346/.350 line he forged last year. He’s gone deep just once in 136 plate appearances this season, four times in 350 plate appearances since the start of 2013 and 12 times in 717 trips to the dish in Triple-A dating to the 2012 season. The absence of offensive impact over a significant duration — at a time when he’s being crowded off of catcher not just by Triple-A colleagues Christian Vazquez and Dan Butler, but also by Blake Swihart in Double-A — suggests that Lavarnway, who will be out of options after this season, could see his 40-man roster spot put in some jeopardy this year unless some glimmers of the tremendous offensive potential he showed in 2011 (.290/.376/.563 with 32 homers in 116 games) quickly become evident.

Brock Holt went 2-for-4 with a double, walk and steal. In 23 Triple-A games, he’s hitting 337/.413/.489 with eight walks, nine strikeouts and seven steals, building on his strong major league performance.

– Shortstop Mike McCoy, who had been 0-for-20 in his previous six games (partly the byproduct of his sporadic playing time), went deep for the first time this year, slamming a two-run homer while going 1-for-1 with two walks and a sacrifice fly.

DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS: 5-2 WIN VS. NEW HAMPSHIRE (BLUE JAYS) Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: allen webster, brian johnson, mookie betts, ryan lavarnway
Red Sox minor league roundup: Brandon Workman builds back; Drake Britton dominates; Kevin Heller going Howdy Groskloss on the Carolina League 04.17.14 at 11:51 am ET
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Drake Britton recorded a save for Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday. (AP)

Drake Britton recorded a save for Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday. (AP)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Wednesday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 7-6 WIN AT ROCHESTER (TWINS)

(BOX)

– In his first start in Triple-A after being optioned to Pawtucket last week, right-hander Brandon Workman dominated early (three shutout innings in which he allowed a single, walked no one and punched out two) before hitting a bit of a wall in his fourth inning of work, in which he permitted a groundball single, a double and a walk before being lifted after 3 1/3 innings. All three of the runners whom he put on base scored, resulting in a line of three runs allowed in 3 1/3 innings. Still, overall, the outing represented an exercise in building arm strength with the late struggles not unexpected given that it had been more than three weeks since Workman had pitched into a fourth frame.

– Given that the Sox want to avoid shuttling Workman back and forth between the rotation and bullpen, the early-season dominance of left-hander Drake Britton is noteworthy, as the 24-year-old could emerge as the first line of bullpen depth from Triple-A. Britton recorded a two-inning save on Wedneday, allowing one hit and punching out four. He worked around a pair of ninth-inning walks by recording all three outs by strikeout in a one-run win. It was Britton’s second save of the year. While his control (five walks in 8 1/3 innings) has been spotty, he has a 1.08 ERA, with opponents hitting .226 against him so far.

– Outfielder Alex Hassan went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles. Since going 0-for-7 in the first two games of the season, the 26-year-old is hitting at a .351 clip (13-for-37) with a .442 OBP and six doubles in his last nine games.

– In a striking reversal from a year ago, Brock Holt remains among the hottest hitters in the International League. He went 3-for-5 with a double to improve his line (in 10 games) to .415/.489/.610 with five doubles and a homer among his 17 hits. Last April, in twice the number of games, he hit .149/.234/.149 with no extra-base hits among his 10 knocks. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brandon Workman, Brock Holt, drake britton, howdy groskloss
Red Sox minor league roundup: Allen Webster gets grounded; Salem makes history; puzzling outing for Brian Johnson 04.09.14 at 11:05 am ET
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Right-hander Allen Webster induced 10 groundball outs on Tuesday. (AP)

Right-hander Allen Webster induced 10 groundball outs on Tuesday. (AP)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 7-1 WIN VS. SYRACUSE (NATIONALS)

(BOX)

– Right-hander Allen Webster threw strikes and showed a strong two-seamer over the course of six efficient innings in which he threw 54 of 83 pitches (65 percent) for strikes. Though Webster punched out just three batters (while walking two), he allowed just three hits (a double and two singles) while eliciting 10 groundball outs.

“My fastball command was 10 times better than where it was the last game. I was throwing my off-speed for strikes and they were getting bad contact,” Webster told Brendan McGair of the Pawtucket Times. “I was staying more in line and driving the ball to the spot rather than jerking it.”

Ryan Lavarnway, who had been 0-for-14 in his first four starts of the year, made his first hit of 2014 a resounding one, launching a solo homer to the opposite field in right. Lavarnway once again played first base, making his third start at that position (compared to one each at DH and catcher). Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: allen webster, brian johnson, ryan lavarnway, salem red sox
Marlins reportedly upset with Red Sox over subpar lineup 03.07.14 at 8:53 am ET
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Jarrod Saltalamacchia was the most high-profile 2013 World Series champion playing during the Red Sox-Marlins Grapefruit League game Thursday. The problem with that? He was playing for Miami.

According to the Sun Sentinel, Marlins executives were “outraged” that the Red Sox sent a lineup that included just two players with more than one major league plate appearance. Those players were Jackie Bradley Jr. and Ryan Lavarnway.

Thursday’€™s game was considered a “super premium” ticket, meaning that fans paid between $10 and $12 more for tickets than they would during a normal weekday game. It is the only time during spring training that fans attending a Marlins home game will pay the higher price.

MLB guidelines state that during spring training a team needs to field “a minimum of four players who are regulars on the previous year’€™s major league team or who were platooned on the previous year’€™s major league team on a regular basis, or who have a reasonable chance to be regulars on the major league club’€™s squad during the upcoming season. Each of those regulars, excluding pitchers, must play a minimum of three complete innings.”

According to Boston Herald Red Sox reporter Scott Lauber, while the Marlins will not file a grievance with the league, Joe Torre, MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations, will look into Boston’s lineup.

The Sox and the Marlins played to a 0-0 tie in the rain-shortened game.

Read More: jackie bradley jr., jarrod saltalamacchia, ryan lavarnway,
Ryan Lavarnway embraces spring of change 02.14.14 at 5:00 pm ET
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Ryan Lavarnway is using a new bat this year. (AP)

Ryan Lavarnway is using a new bat this year. (AP)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — For Ryan Lavarnway, change isn’t just limited to a new position.

While the 26-year-old is getting a tutorial at first base from Red Sox third base coach and infield instructor Brian Butterfield, he’s also wielding a modified weapon in the batter’s box in hopes of reclaiming some of his offensive prowess. In 2011, Lavarnway emerged as one of the Sox’ top prospects based on the potential power he could bring to a position (catcher) where offense is a scarce and hence valued commodity. He slammed 34 homers between Double-A, Triple-A and the big leagues, suggesting a future middle-of-the-order bat who could handle the responsibilities of catching.

But over the 2012 and 2013 seasons, he hit just 14 homers while shuttling between Triple-A and the majors in the two combined seasons. Though he still showed the ability to hit for average and get on base in Triple-A (in both 2012 and 2013) and the big leagues (in 2013 after struggling at that level in 2012), he saw his slugging percentage plummet in the minors from .563 in 2011 to .439 in 2012 to .350 in 2013.

While his ability to add first base to his resume could open pathways to the big leagues, that facet of his game pales in significance next to his ability to restore his status as a power hitting prospect. Mindful of that, Lavarnway has changed his lumber for this spring. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: ryan lavarnway, spring training 2014,
Ryan Lavarnway gets his introduction to first base at 12:14 pm ET
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Ryan Lavarnway is working at first base this spring. (WEEI.com)

Ryan Lavarnway is working at first base this spring. (WEEI.com)

FORT MYERS, Fla. — After spending the entirety of his professional career catching in the Red Sox system, Ryan Lavarnway is getting his introduction to a new position this spring. The 26-year-old worked today with Red Sox infield guru Brian Butterfield at first base. Butterfield had tremendous success last spring working with both Mike Napoli (who had played first base on a part-time basis prior to 2013) and Daniel Nava (who had never played the position at all) last year in Fort Myers. This year, if Lavarnway — who is considered by evaluators to be defensively adequate for consideration as at least a backup behind the plate — can add first base to his skill set, it could open up playing time for him both in Triple-A (where the Sox also have catchers Christian Vazquez and Dan Butler on the anticipated roster, and on the 40-man roster, but are thin at first base) and potentially the majors.

If, for instance, Mike Napoli gets injured at some point, the Sox would want to have a right-handed first baseman to complement Mike Carp and/or Daniel Nava at the position. If Lavarnway gains comfort at first base, he could emerge at that option. While much is made of the 2008 fifth-rounder’s diminished power in the last two years, it is worth noting that he still offered solid offensive production as a backup catcher for the Sox last year, hitting .299/.329/.429 with a homer and seven doubles in 82 plate appearances. As a player on the 40-man roster, Lavarnway could have a leg up on another option such as Brandon Snyder if the Sox need a right-handed first baseman — assuming that his transition to the position goes well. And, given that Lavarnway is in his final year with options, the idea of finding him more potential pathways to the big leagues through positions other than catcher and DH carries particular significance at this stage of his career.

Read More: ryan lavarnway, spring training 2014,
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