Ryan Lavarnway Will Get Chance to Capitalize on Increased Playing Time With Kelly Shoppach Gone

Ryan Lavarnway Will Get Chance to Capitalize on Increased Playing Time With Kelly Shoppach GoneThere were signs the Red Sox were preparing to pass the baton over to Ryan Lavarnway.

For one, his promotion was an eye-opener. When the Red Sox recalled Lavarnway on Aug. 2 to take Daniel Nava's spot on the roster, they could have chosen Mauro Gomez, who might have also filled in for injured designated hitter David Ortiz.

But the Red Sox front office didn't go that route, instead electing to carry three catchers in Lavarnway, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach. Soon thereafter, the team placed Shoppach on waivers, showing a willingness to trade the veteran backstop.

And on Tuesday, the Red Sox did just that, shipping Shoppach to the Mets for a player to be named later. It's simply another sign that Boston's brass is looking to turn the keys over to the youngster out of Yale.

A week ago, the writing was essentially on the wall. With Vicente Padilla experiencing minor arm soreness, the team had the option of either going short-handed in the bullpen for a few days or optioning Lavarnway to Triple-A for Clayton Mortensen.

Instead, the team passed on both of those options and placed Padilla on the 15-day disabled list — despite the fact that Padilla only needed three days of rest and could've been available sooner rather than later. They stuck with the unusual move of keeping three catchers on the roster.

Those days are gone. The move was also, in part, created to give Lavarnway additional playing time, considering he's only received 20 at-bats in seven games during his major-league stint.

In his brief time with the Red Sox, Lavarnway is 2-for-20 with two walks. Before his promotion, the 25-year-old was raking for Pawtucket, unloading eight home runs and 43 RBIs while batting .295.

His defense — a question mark entering the season — has improved tremendously this season and the International League managers voted Lavarnway as the best defensive backstop at that level.

Now, he'll have the playing time to display his progress. 

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