FORT MYERS, Fla. – Ryan Lavarnway understands the deal.
There are two veteran catchers on the Red Sox roster in Jarrod Saltalmacchia and David Ross, the Red Sox are most likely only going to carry two catchers, and Lavarnway has an option.
It’s a dynamic that Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington took a step toward clarifying in his comments Saturday, saying, “Well, right now, our expectation is Salty and Ross, their the two proven guys and we signed Ross for a reason and Salty has continued to build on each year and has added some things and gotten better and he’s a power threat and capable of being one of the best catchers in the league. We’ve seen that. We’ve seen other parts of season where he’s struggled. He’s still a young guy. We expect him to continue to develop and he might be even better this year than he was last year. We think Salty and Ross complement each other well. And we feel pretty good about where we are catching-wise.
“Ryan Lavarnway has come a long way. We think he’s going to be a really good player for us. Sometimes the sort of clock doesn’t start exactly w hen the player wants to. He’s proven at the triple a level that he’s capable of helping a major league team. That’s going to happen. We just don’t know exactly when.”
Lavarnway’s take on the situation?
“For me, I want to win the World Series,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if I’m there for however long. We play this game to win and if you’re not playing this game to win then I don’t know why you’re playing. However I can help. If they want me to do something else to get better other than being on the active roster then I’ll go down and get better and I’ll help us win more later. But I think I can help us win and help the pitchers be their best. The last couple of years haven’t been fun because we’re not winning and we have to get back to that.”
Lavarnway, who played in 46 games with the Red Sox last season after totaling 17 appearances in the majors in 2011, said nobody has discussed the situation with him. So, for now, the 25-year-old is solely focusing on what he can control.
What the catcher did was go out and change his body once again, this time adding 10 pounds of muscle to his frame while working out in Colorado. It was a strategy born from the reality that became ’12.
“In years past I focused a lot of on losing weight and trying to get stronger while at the same time being lighter. This year I didn’t concern myself so much with losing weight. I just wanted to be really strong,” he said. “I lost 28 pounds last year. I actually lost it twice because I got sick the one time. It had more of an effect on me than I thought and didn’t notice it until later. That’s not a healthy transition for me to go through it twice. I noticed it later in the year.
“At the beginning offspring training Ben had said, ‘We want to try and stay thinner this year,’ where in years past I’ve had strong second halves and that was when I was heavier. But I’m strong right now. Guys I’ve told I was going to stay heavier said, ‘I thought you were going to stay heavier.’ I told them, ‘I am.’ I’m lean, but I’m still heavy at the same time, so that’s good.”
A chief concern of Lavarnway’s was his inability to produce the kind of power that had put his talents on Major League Baseball’s radar in ’11. That year he hit 32 homers in the minors, with a .939 OPS. During his time in the minors in ’12, the righty hitter totaled eight homers and an .815 OPS.
“A lot of the year I hit a lot of fly balls to the warning track. There were lot of not-quites,” said Lavarnway, who is at 240 pounds, up 10 pounds from a year ago. “I think I started to try and manufacture power, and that’s not how I hit. When you start trying to force it that’s never good.
“It’s frustrating to be hitting to the warning track and then the next hitter is Middlebrooks and he’s hitting it 50 feet over the fence, so you can’t blame the wind because somebody is putting it out. The year before I was the guy that it felt like every other day I was hitting them. It got a little bit frustrating, I tried to force it and that’s not good. This year I want to stay a little more discipline, and hopefully stay strong because I feel great right now.”
And, for Lavarnway, it was more than just the home runs.
“For me it’s about discipline because the harder I swing the ball isn’t going to go any farther,” he said. “When I swing harder, my swing is longer, I don’t get to the pitch inside as well and you end up missing pitches if you didn’t swing as hard you probably would hit 400 feet. Also, you aren’t going to hit a bad pitch well. I want to get back to my discipline and that will bring success with it.”
We had an impromptu visit from Peter King from SI / MMQB to our Fenway Studios and decided to talk some NFL and Patriots with him.
Pete talks with The Senator, Phil Perry about the Patriots trading for Dwayne Allen, ruling out a return to New England for Martellus Bennett. They also talk about the potential future of Patriots backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo and some of the big names in NFL free agency
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Dale, Holley and Rich Keefe discuss NBA lottery pick Lonzo Ball with his very outspoken father Lavar Ball. The guys touch on the Celtics, his feud with his sons' high school coach, Lonzo being better than Steph Curry and much more.
Kirk, Gerry, and Alex Reimer discuss whether or not Isaiah Thomas will win a title in Boston.
Gerry, Kirk, and Trenni react to the Celtics loss against the Suns.
We sit down with the manager of the Sox, John Farrell, for our weekly interview.
Rob Bradford is joined by Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Craig Breslow, who is one of the foremost authorities among professional athletes when it comes to understanding how charities work. Not only does Breslow head up his own charity, the Strike 3 Foundation, but also proactively has taken the Boston Globe to task via a letter to the editor after a 2013 article criticizing the allocation of funds for high-profile athlete's charities. Breslow digs into the recent controversy surrounding Tom Brady's affiliation with Best Buddies, explaining why the recent Globe article was misguided.
Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett talked to the Sox left fielder, who had five hits in the Sox win in Baltimore.
Kirk gives us today's headlines: John Kerry is switching islands. Jesse Watters makes odd comment about Ivanka Trump. Marty Walsh comments on the Boston 2024 book. Pre-NFL Draft talk.
Hour 4. Kirk questions the show about whether or not anyone would have relations with another man while in prison. Jemele Hill threatened Kirk on Twitter, but did she delete her tweet?
Larry Army Jr., Kyle Kennedy's attorney, joins Kirk, Gerry and Meter to talk about yesterday's press conference and elaborate on a few of his comments.
The mass lay offs at ESPN continue for a second day. And are you watching Chris Sale take on the Yankees or the NFL draft tonight?
One more win for the C's means a ticket to the second round. But should we be feeling confident? The draft starts tonight and the Patriots don't seem to have any intention of participating in the first few rounds.
Following the Sox loss to the Yankees, Lou comes out swinging on managers and writers alike.
Dale, Holley and Keefe discuss the Sox and how a typically raucous Yankees series seems much more subdued this year.
Dale, Holley and Keefe discuss the NFL Draft... seems like interest around these parts is down without a first round pick for the Pats.
We close out the show with the best sound clips of the day.
Kirk Minihane, Springsteen super fan, is joined by Garry W. Tallent, founding member of the E Street Band. Kirk and Garry talk about what it's like on tour with Bruce, how the band goes about selecting songs for the tour, Garry's projects away from the band, and Garry's upcoming solo tour that will bring him to the New England area.
Kirk Minihane, future radio hall of famer, sits down with current radio hall of famer Howie Carr. Kirk and Howie talk about Howie's latest book Kennedy Babylon. If you like famous people engaging in sex scandals, hard drug taking, and murder this is the podcast for you. Its a fascinating look at Boston's most famous family and the problems that took the family down.
Kirk Minihane, host and overlord of the morning show, brings Gerry Callahan and producers Chris and Ken into the studio to hear his show proposal. Kirk is thinking about making some changes to the morning show and wants to hear his crew's opinion.
It’s Day 1 of the NFL Draft tonight so Jim Hackett & Pete Davidson offer a little pre-draft fodder for you featuring the Top Tight Ends and Top Wide Receivers. It’s Day 1 of the draft so there’s a lot of focus on the Top Tier talent who you could see drafted tonight including analysis on OJ Howard, Evan Engram & David Njoku; all Tight Ends that could be drafted in tonight’s 1st Round – a rarity. The analysis deepens with more focus on the Top 10 Tight Ends including Jake Butt, Bucky Hodges and Jordan Leggett. Then the boys turn to the Top Wide Receivers, including John Ross, Corey Davis, Mike Williams and JuJu Smith-Shuster. We’ll see where these guys land tonight, but you can learn more and have a few laughs right now.
Ken Laird and Chris Curtis are in after a Reimer Wednesday edition of K&C to recap a virtuoso Kirk Minihane off-the-rails performance
Buck and Reimer debate over whether it’s appropriate to speculate about Aaron Hernandez’s sexuality. Buck says his sources don’t corroborate what Michele McPhee and the Daily Mail have reported about the disgraced ex-NFL star’s love life. Reimer disagrees with the Boston Globe's assertion that there's a homophobic element to the Hernandez story.
Hour 3. Kirk goes on his second rant of the day. Minihane orders Alex’s and Gerry’s mics to be turned off and hosts the show by himself.More from this show
Hour 1. In a wild opening segment, Kirk and Gerry lash out at the Globe and Joe Sullivan. Reimer weighs in on Cyd Ziegler’s Hernandez take. Michael Holley thinks the Globe would do the same story on Ortiz as they did on Brady and Best Buddies.More from this show
Hour 4. Bradford joins the show to defend the fact that he attends Ortiz’s charity event for free. Alex doesn’t think it was unethical to out Hernandez.More from this show
Hour 2. The guys talk discuss Hernandez’s gay lover with Reimer. Reimer says there aren’t a lot of straight guys looking to experiment. Bradford tells Mut he paid for his wife to attend the Ortiz charity event.More from this show
Hour 1. Kirk, Gerry and Meter go over the long list of ESPN employees that were let go yesterday, and realize a certain pair of names not on the list. The callers weigh in on the public's influence on ESPN.More from this show