FORT MYERS, Fla. — General manager Ben Cherington made it clear before spring training that the Red Sox would use Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Ross as their catchers and that Ryan Lavarnway would start the season with Triple A Pawtucket.
So it was no surprise that the 25-year-old was optioned this morning.
Lavanway could have been gotten in the mix to DH in place of David Ortiz. But he hit .136/.188/.159 in 48 spring training plate appearances.
An accomplished hitter in the minors, Lavarnway has hit .172/.230 /.286 over part of two seasons (209 plate appearances) in the majors.
“Right now he needs everyday at-bats,” manager John Farrell said. “I will say, and as I mentioned to Ryan in our meeting this morning, my benchmark was last September with him and he’s come back in at a weight that is more consistent with his in the past [and] overall strength. I thought he did a very good job with just the catching side of the game.”
Farrell said Lavarnway’s throwing is much improved, particularly his footwork and how quickly he transfers the ball. The Sox timed him at 1.9 second against the Phillies the other day when he threw out Ben Revere stealing second.
“More than acceptable at the big league level,” said Farrell, who also noted that Lavarnway also has become better at reading swings, calling pitches and framing low pitches.
“From a catching standpoint he had, I thought, I good spring. And yet offensive we need to get him back to the player he’s been year over year,” Farrell said.
The Sox, Farrell said, would be comfortable bringing Lavarnway up if a need arises.
The Red Sox also reassigned righthanders Anthony Carter and Jose De La Torre to minor league camp. The Red Sox now have 35 players in major league camp. That includes Ryan Kalish, who is on the 60-day disabled list, and five other players who are injured.