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Dana LeVangie named new Red Sox pitching coach

Rob Bradford
November 08, 2017 - 4:10 pm

Dana LeVangie is getting his biggest break yet.

The Brockton native and Whitman-Hanson High graduate has been named the new Red Sox pitching coach. LeVangie, a graduate of American International College, has served as the team's bullpen coach since 2013 and has spent his entire 27-year career in professional baseball with the Red Sox, first as a minor league player, and now as a coach. He has also served as an advanced scout.

 

"This guy, he understands the game," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora on a conference call. "Seems like we talk the same language as far as the game. When everyone started talking about me being a manager, he was a guy I always considered would be part of my staff. He is well prepared and versatile enough that he can work with catchers and be a pitching coach. I'm very comfortable with Dana being in this role. He knows the guys. He's been through this whole process the last few years. He's going to be someone I'm going to really rely on and I'm going to trust."

This will be LeVangie's first stint as a pitching coach. He spent the end of the 2015 season as Torey Lovullo's bench coach while then-manager John Farrell was recovering from cancer treatments.

"I guess being a local kid, being a Red Sox fan growing up, having a not-so-successful high school career but more successful in my college days, getting drafted by the Boston Red Sox, playing six years in the minor leagues, going into my 28th year, it's been an incredible ride," LeVangie said. "I've done a lot of things for the team. I've enjoyed every role I've served in. Again this is something I didn't envision myself doing, but I think my experience throughout the game, experience dealing with the players has grown throughout my time and I guess more than anything my commitment to the players, my commitment to the pitchers just continues to drive me to be the best I can to put these pitchers and players in position to have success."

The 48-year-old LeVangie was considered a key cog in what turned out to be one of baseball's best bullpens last year. He credits his time as a bullpen catcher for increasing his knowledge of pitching, as well as his work with former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek.

"I think we've all seen and heard how things are changing in the game, be it spin rates or launch angles," he said. "And certain things like that, that continue to come up in stories throughout baseball. I think my truest learning experiencing stemmed from working as a bullpen catcher with the Red Sox. And it allowed me to really lock in on mechanics, movement of the baseball, spin of the baseball, identifying specifics of a pitcher's strengths and weaknesses and identifying more importantly on the strengths and trying to identify what makes a pitcher have success and continued success.

"So, I think back in the day I started to learn that. I'll continue to learn more as we go forward, but, you know, I've learned a lot from Jason throughout the days of my time here, communicating with him. But you know I think our, as baseball coaches as baseball people, we use our eyes, the eyes usually tell us a lot of the things we want to know and our eyes will tell us a lot of the information that's out now, spin rates and movement and how we can make these guys successful, so I don't think it's going to be a big adjustment, but it's something I've worked hard at trying to identify things sooner rather than later so it will be an easier adjustment for me."

The Red Sox also announced they are adding  Ramon Vazquez as a major league coach, serving as a liaison between the major league club’s advance scouting and statistical analysis efforts, for the purpose of presenting information to players and coaches. Cora said the Astros employed Alex Cintron in a similar fashion.

"He was right next to our advanced team and he was a filter and a guy that helped the players connect with the advanced team," Cora said. "There was certain information that players sometimes get scared of, but the way we communicate the information to the players was very positive and alex was a very big part of it. I always envisioned my staff to have somebody like that. Ramon, we played winter ball together since 1996. We see the game the same way. We were taught the game by the same coaches. I talk about Sandy Alomar Sr. and Ramon sees the game the same way. I think he's going to be an asset."

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