Lavarnway 'excited' about 2013 Red Sox

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Lavarnway 'excited' about 2013 Red Sox

PAWTUCKET Like most who are interested to see how the Red Sox will rebound from their disastrous 2012 season, Ryan Lavarnway has been watching the moves the team has been making. And hes pleased.

Im excited, Lavarnway said Saturday at the PawSox Christmas party at McCoy Stadium. I think that they signed players that are definitely going to help us win. Theyre players with a lot of playoff experience and a lot of game experience and theyre guys thatll be good to have around.

I think that the players that weve acquired are all high-quality character guys. And new manager John Farrell I think is going to lead a much tighter ship than what weve had recently.

In the past week the Sox added outfielder Shane Victorino and catcherfirst baseman Mike Napoli, who both agreed to three-year, 39 million contracts, along with pitcher Koji Uehara, who signed a one-year, 4.25 million deal.

While Napoli was brought in primarily to play first base he could be available behind the plate as well. His addition gives the Sox six catchers on the 40-man roster, with four on the 25-man roster as currently projected. Lavarnway, while still establishing himself at the big league level, is happy with the addition of Napoli.

I think hes a great player, Lavarnway said. And I know that when we play Texas we didnt want to pitch to him. So I think thatll be a good addition to our lineup.

Lavarnway, the Sox sixth-round pick in 2008 out of Yale, did not get to know Farrell before he left as the Sox pitching coach to manage the Blue Jays before the 2011 season. Lavarnway introduced himself to the manager for the first time last season during a game against the Jays. Hes been getting to know his new manager this offseason.

He called me and he said how excited he was to be a part of the team and how excited he was about what we had going forward and the new additions we were going to add, Lavarnway said. I saw him on the caravan in Boston last week. He seemed very excited and very dedicated.

Lavarnway is looking forward to a having a manager with a pitching background.

I think that he recognizes the needs that pitchers and catchers have, Lavarnway said, and that hell help meet those needs.

Hes also looking forward to having former PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler on the big league staff, as the Sox first base coach.

Itll be great for the players coming up because hes seen us at our best and at our worst and hes seen the transition periods in between, Lavarnway said. And I think he will help facilitate those and help us go from bad to good a lot quicker.

One of Lavarnways goals this season is to catch 100 games. He reached that milestone last season for the first time in his career, with 108 games behind the plate between Pawtucket and Boston. It was a workload that took its toll. He hit just .157, going 24-for-153, with 41 strikeouts and just 10 extra-base hits in the big leagues. His big league offense was well off what he did for the PawSox last season, when he hit .295 with eight home runs, 43 RBI, a .376 on-base percentage, and .439 slugging percentage in 61 games.

I just want to hit like myself again, he said. Its easy for me to say .290, 25 home runs, and 100 RBI. But that gets changed based on the number of at-bats I get. So if I get 500 at-bats, Id like to hit 20-plus homers again like I know Im capable of.

Tom Brady will play Friday night vs. Panthers

Tom Brady will play Friday night vs. Panthers

CHARLOTTE - Tom Brady didn't merely fly to Carolina because he likes having his ears pop. 

The Patriots quarterback will indeed play Friday night against the Carolina Panthers. Given Bill Belichick's stated objective of making Jimmy Garoppolo's preparation for the season's first four games a priority, it was uncertain whether Brady would be on the field even though he traveled. But with Brady a late scratch last Thursday against the Bears after gouging his thumb just before kickoff, his chances for game reps before his exile were waning. 

Brady made it very clear this week that he doesn't just want the game reps for tuning up and getting knocked around but because he believes it's his job and responsibility to be out there leading the team, regardless of where he'll be the first four weeks of the year. With him feeling that strongly about playing being important for his preparation and for his standing within the team, it makes sense for Belichick to give him reps. 

It's not known whether Brady or Garoppolo will start or how many series either quarterback will play Friday night. 

Red Sox’ quotes, notes and stars from 2-1 loss to Rays

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Red Sox’ quotes, notes and stars from 2-1 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Notes, quotes and stars from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Rays:

QUOTES:

* "There's not much I can do about it now. It's kind of a waiting game and hopefully, the tests come back clean.'' -Andrew Benintendi, on the uncertainty surrounding his knee injury.

* "Sometimes, I like that, sometimes I don't because I'd kind of take a couple of quick outs in place of those to get a couple of more innings out there.'' -Drew Pomeranz on his career high 11 strikeouts.

* "That's probably the spot that looms the largest. Jackie's become more aggressive early in the count, but at the same time, that aggressiveness can work against you.'' -Farrell on Jackie Bradley Jr. swinging at the first pitch following a walk with the bases loaded.

NOTES:

* Drew Pomeranz recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts

 * Since moving to the leadoff spot, Dustin Pedroia has a slash line of .397/.418/.460 in 16 games.

* Pomeranz has yielded two runs or fewer in five consecutive starts.

* On the just-completed road trip, the Red Sox led in all but one game.

* Thursday's loss was the fourth this season in which the Sox allowed two runs or fewer.

 * The past 18 Red Sox losses have come by a combined 37 runs.

* Until Thursday, the Red Sox had won 20 of their past 31 day games.

* The bottom third of the makeshift Red Sox lineup combined to go 2-for-12.

* The Sox missed out on a chance to have an eight-win road trip, which would have been their first since 2011.

STARS:

1) Jake Odorizzi

The Rays started, facing a depleted Red Sox lineup, limited the Sox to a single run over seven innings, allowing just five hits and getting out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam by allowing just one run.

2) Mikie Mahtook

Mahtook was 0-for-34 when facing Drew Pomeranz in the seventh inning, but that didn't stop him from doubling home Steven Souza Jr with what proved to be the winning run.

3) Dustin Pedroia

The Sox couldn't generate much of anything at all offensively, but don't blame Pedroia. The leadoff hitter had three hits and a walk and was on base four times for the Sox.

Benintendi's MRI inconclusive; will undergo more tests Friday in Boston

Benintendi's MRI inconclusive; will undergo more tests Friday in Boston

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Andrew Benintendi saga will continue for at least one more day, as an MRI taken here Thursday morning was, in the words of John Farrell, "inconclusive" and the rookie left fielder will undergo more tests Friday in Boston.

"Our doctors want to get him back to a full exam with (team orthopedist) Dr. [Peter] Asnis," Farrell said after the 2-1 loss to the Rays, which concluded the team's 11-game road trip. "Hopefully, when I speak to you all [Friday] afternoon (at Fenway Park, prior to the team's game against Royals), there will be a little more information on this."

Farrell said Friday's tests "will include some other imaging".

The Sox placed Benintendi on the 15-day disabled list after he injured his left night while running the bases Wednesday night. 

"We're going to do some more tests tomorrow and take it day-by-day," he said. "There's not much I can do about it now. It's kind of a waiting game and hopefully the tests come back clean.''
 
Benintendi found one sliver of hope:
 
"The more I walk on it, the better it feels. I'm going to stay as positive as I can.''