Entering spring training, the 25-year-old's defensive
skills were a major question mark. When asked about Lavarnway's development,
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine noticed progress, but admitted there is room
"I think he needs work, but from what I gather, he's
improved an awful lot," Valentine said.
Offensively, however, he's been quiet in the majors. Entering Monday's game against the Yankees, Lavarnway was hitting .170 with just two home runs and 12 RBIs in 43 games.
That's in stark contrast to the explosive season he was having in Triple-A, when he
blasted eight home runs and 43 RBIs while hitting .295. The sudden drop in
power and consistency has caught Valentine off guard, but he still believes in the youngster.
"He's working every day," Valentine said.
"I saw him in spring training, and he hit OK, but they said that wasn't
quite his swing, so I've been waiting. I'm a little surprised he hasn't hit
better. I want him to feel good somehow before the season ends about his
approach at the plate.
"A productive hitter? I haven't drawn the picture of
what kind of hitter he can be, so I don't want to put it in the wrong box. I
think he's going to be a major-league hitter and a major-league player."
The Red Sox are certainly banking on it.