DiSarcina eager for new role with Red Sox

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DiSarcina eager for new role with Red Sox

PAWTUCKET, R.I. Saying he might need to brush off the cobwebs, Gary DiSarcina is resuming his managerial career, taking over the helm of Triple-A Pawtucket, after being out of the dugout and out of the Red Sox organization for the past two seasons.

DiSarcina, who was introduced Friday afternoon during a press conference at McCoy Stadium, had been with the Angels the past two seasons, after being in the Sox organization the previous five years.

He joined the Sox in November 2006, when he was named a baseball operations consultant, From 2007-09 he managed Low-A Lowell, where he compiled a record of 125-99 and led the Spinners to Stedler Division titles in 2008 and 2009. In 2010 he was the Sox minor league infield coordinator. He was also on the coaching staff for Team Italy for the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

In November 2010, DiSarcina left the Sox to join the Angels, the team for which he played his entire 12-season big league career. He was the Angels minor-league field coordinator last season before being named special assistant to the general manager in October, a position he also held in 2011.

Were obviously very familiar with Gary from his past experience with us, said Ben Crockett, Sox director of player development. He brings a wealth of knowledge from a long playing career. He served as an excellent manager and coordinator for us. He went on to some bigger experience with the Angels, working with the big league club as well as overseeing the farm system. So I think he comes back to us with a lot of experience thats going to serve this Pawtucket club well. Were really excited to have Gary back in the system.

General manager Ben Cherington said the organization was looking for a way to get DiSarcina back since he left. The Sox met with DiSarcina about the job during the winter meetings in Nashville last week.

Hes a guy we have a lot of respect for, Cherington said. It was hard for him because I think hes got loyalty to both organizations. He was a player in the Angels organization. Hes got loyalty to that organization. I think hes loyal to the Red Sox, too, because this is where he started his post-playing career, and obviously a guy thats from around here.

I think we were looking for someone to go to Triple-A who understood our core philosophy, understood what its like to be in Boston, to play in Boston, what preparing players to play in Boston is all about, someone we trusted and someone weve worked with in the past. So, we looked at a number of candidates but we felt like if we could get him back, he would be the right guy. And were fortunate that we could do that.

After filling in for the Angels Double-A manager for four games this season, he realized he wanted to eventually get back into the dugout. But, he said, he wouldnt have left the Angels for any other organization besides the Sox. The Billerica native, who now lives on the South Shore, has two kids, the youngest a freshman in high school.

While he is familiar with the organization from his previous tenure, he knows his new job will have its specific challenges, along with those a manager at any level faces.

Probably just knocking the cobwebs off a little bit. I think spring training will be great for that, he said. A big adjustment will be talking to the front office more. Talking to Sox manager John Farrell and bench coach Torey Lovullo when they call down more, just getting a little more adjusted to talking to the front office people, because when youre in Lowell your days are pretty much set out, you know who youre pitching, you know how its going, you dont talk to the front office as much at that lower level. Just to be more interactive with those guys.

DiSarcina, 45, ended his playing career in 2002 appearing in 35 games with the PawSox.

DiSarcina is replacing Arnie Beyeler who was promoted to first base coach for the major league team. DiSarcina cited Beyeler for helping him when he began managing in Lowell.

Arnie helped me out tremendously when I first went up to manage Lowell, DiSarcina said. I basically went up to Portland where Beyeler was managing the Double-A team at the time and shadowed him for four or five days. He was a tremendous help.

DiSarcina, who said he ultimately would like to manage at the big league level, learned a major lesson from his time in Lowell.

That I could do it. That was probably the most important thing that I learned, that first day I managed my first game I was nervous as hell, I walked in the dugout and I was nervous, the nerves went away right after that first pitch was gone. I dont care how many years you played in the big leagues, how many years you played in the minor leagues that first managing gig youre nervous. The game speeds up on you really quick. It took me a week or two just to settle down and get into a routine. But just that I could do it.

At the half: Sixers applying pressure early and often against the Celtics

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At the half: Sixers applying pressure early and often against the Celtics

The Celtics are getting more than they bargained for against the Philadelphia 76ers who are once again, record-wise, among the worst teams in the NBA.

They didn’t look like it in the first half which ended with the Celtics trailing the Sixers 53-45.

Boston came into the game having won its last four road games. And they did so by playing solid defense, something that has been noticeably absent in the first half.

Philadelphia came into the game as one of the NBA’s better 3-point shooting teams and has lived up to the lofty ranking.

In the first half Philadelphia made nine of its 18 three-point attempts while the Celtics are way, way, way at the other end of the 3-point shooting spectrum while missing eight of their 11 3s with Isaiah Thomas making a pair with the lone other made 3-pointer coming from Marcus Smart.

The defense struggled, the offense never had any kind of flow and not surprisingly, the Celtics found themselves playing from behind most of the first half.

Here are the first half stars from Saturday’s game.

STARS

Sergio Rodriguez: His playmaking was solid as usual, but it was Rodriguez getting it going with his jumper that really produced surprisingly strong results for the Sixers. He had 11 points, four assists and a steal in the first half.

Isaiah Thomas: Playing his game which is shooting and attacking the rim, Thomas was Boston’s lone double-digit scorer in the first half with 15 points which is tops among all players.

STUDS

Dario Saric: It was a solid first half as Saric contributed both on the boards and the scoreboard. He had 10 points in the first half along with five rebounds.

Gerald Henderson: Henderson had one of those high efficiency-type games with 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting.

DUDS

Celtics 3-point shooting: It was a miserable first half for a team that has been among the NBA’s leaders in 3-pointers made and taken this season. At the half, Boston has shot 2-for-10 on 3's.

Celtics defense: Boston has shown little to no signs of providing the kind of push-back they’ll need in order to leave Philly with a win. In addition to allowing Philadelphia to shoot 47.4 percent from the field, Boston also allowed the Sixers to knock down nine 3's.

Thomas becoming one of the NBA's best in the fourth quarter

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Thomas becoming one of the NBA's best in the fourth quarter

Isaiah Thomas has established himself as one of the NBA’s top players in the fourth quarter of games this season.

“I’d rather play that than any other quarter,” Thomas said.

But there will be times when the game’s flow or head coach Brad Stevens’ gut will tell him to go in a different direction with Thomas’ minutes which is something the two have had conversations about which has helped eliminate any confusion or misunderstandings.

“We’ve had player-coach talks, how he feels and how I feel,” Thomas said. “That’s the relationship we have. We changed it up a little bit (in the win over Sacramento) and I’m just happy we got the win.”

In that game, Thomas was replaced by Terry Rozier with 3:20 to play in the quarter and Boston trailing 66-63. He returned to the floor at the 8:31 mark and the Celtics were down 76-74.

“The key is, there are some times where you feel like those last few minutes of the third quarter will be real important moving forward,” Stevens told reporters prior to tonight’s game. “Especially based on how your team is playing. And you just have to make that decision. You have to make that decision, you take him out early in the third like we did (against Sacramento) and put him back in earlier; or play him through until the two or one-minute mark in the third, and then give him his rest up until the seven or six. Either way, we’ve talked about it like I do with all our guys, especially the guys that are playing and big in the rotation.

Stevens would love to come up with a game plan and stick to it with little to no changes being made.

But the NBA game is unpredictable and his job as the head coach is to make the necessary on-the-fly changes that best position the Celtics for victory.

“Ultimately there will be days that it will be very consistent and there might be a time or two where I’m gonna go with my gut,” Stevens said. “They know that and we’ve talked about it.”

And while Stevens’ decision may not sit well with some, players understand it’s all done to achieve one goal – win. 

“There’s a number of reasons why you make a decision to leave someone in or take someone out,” Stevens said. “Ultimately, we have to figure out game to game, moment to moment, what’s best for our team. That’s what I’m charged with. That doesn’t mean I’m always right. I’m not gonna act like that. Ultimately, those guys know I’m thinking about it all the time.”