Ryan Lavarnway Impresses in First Stint With Red Sox, Will Return in September

Ryan Lavarnway Impresses in First Stint With Red Sox, Will Return in September BOSTON — With three games scheduled in two days, the Red Sox recalled right-handed reliever Scott Atchison on Friday and optioned Ryan Lavarnway to Triple-A Pawtucket.

The move is designed to bolster the bullpen for the condensed series with Oakland. "We probably better protect our pitching," manager Terry Francona said. It is by no means an indictment on Lavarnway, whose first stint in the big leagues did nothing to damper the enthusiasm surrounding one of the organization's top prospect.

Lavarnway hit .304 (7-for-23) with two doubles and three RBIs in seven games for the Red Sox while serving as the replacement for an injured David Ortiz. Notable in the stretch were a number of at-bats in which the young catcher worked pitchers like a seasoned pro.

The 24-year-old drew four walks in his six starts.

"The way he controlled the strike zone," Francona said when asked what impressed him most about Lavarnway. "Obviously a smart kid. Helped us win some games. That's what we asked him to do, and it’s not an easy thing to do."

Lavarnway will rejoin a PawSox team possibly headed toward the playoffs after their regular season ends Sept. 5. Once that is all over with, he'll return to Boston to join another team likely headed for the postseason.

The power-hitting Yale product will provide some right-handed pop off the bench for the Red Sox down the stretch, and perhaps get a few innings behind the plate to rest the legs of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek.

However, the September stay will do much more for his future than it will for the team's present.

"He’ll be back as soon as we can get him back, spend September with us," Francona said. "I think spending some time with [bullpen coach and catching instructor] Gary Tuck will be very important to him."

Lavarnway is still learning the catching position. Tuck's tutelage, both in September and then early next spring in Fort Myers, will help him become major league ready as a catcher, or at least close to it. As his phenomenal numbers in the minors and his promising week in the majors suggests, the bat is already there.

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