For DiSarcina, learning PawSox 'identity' big priority

For DiSarcina, learning PawSox 'identity' big priority
April 2, 2013, 7:00 pm
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PAWTUCKET, R.I. – With just two days to go before Opening Day, new Triple-A Pawtucket manager Gary DiSarcina finally had his team all together in one place. Most of it, anyway. Outfielder Alex Hassan was not at the team’s first official workout Tuesday afternoon. Outfielder Brandon Snyder -- who was released by the Rangers on March 27 and whom the PawSox had picked up “just a few minutes ago,” DiSarcina joked – was, however.
It was the group’s first organized workout since spring training, where DiSarcina and his staff – pitching coach Rich Sauveur and hitting coach Dave Joppie – spent most of the spring working with the major league staff.
“I’m excited,” said DiSarcina. “We had a team meeting before and to not see 60 bodies, and see 20, 25 bodies, it’s a little bit more intimate. You can connect with them a little bit more. The last five or six days in camp being around them, it’s tough to get a feel for who they are. So to be here, to be on the field, and have a workout today, I don’t care if it’s cold or warm or rain, we’re going to go out here and have fun. These guys haven’t done much in a day or two. I’m excited to be around them, it’s a good bunch of guys.”
For DiSarcina, who was born in Malden, Mass., grew up in Billerica, Mass., and went to UMass, his first season managing the PawSox is a homecoming of sorts, a return to New England and to the Red Sox organization.  He had been with the Angels the past two seasons, and 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.
Before that he had been with the Sox from November, 2006, when he was named a baseball operations consultant, until November 2010. From 2007-09 he managed Low-A Lowell, where he compiled a record of 125-99 and led Lowell to Stedler Division titles in 2008 and 2009. In 2010 he was the Sox minor league infield coordinator.
DiSarcina, 45, was a sixth-round pick of the Angels in 1988. He played parts of 12 seasons with the Angels, and was an All-Star in 1995. In 1,086 games over 12 seasons, all with the Angels, he hit .258 with 28 home runs and 355 RBI, playing shortstop (1,069 games), second base (10 games), and third base (two games). He ended his career appearing in 35 games for the PawSox in 2002.
Now, he takes the place of Arnie Beyeler, who was promoted to the major league staff, as the first base coach, after leading the PawSox to the International League championship and the Governors’ Cup last season.
“Arnie’s been very helpful to me from day one,” DiSarcina. “I met him his first year in Portland, (when Beyeler managed the Double-A Sea Dogs from 2007-10). I went up and shadowed him for four or five days. He was so open and secure with everything. There’s no prouder moment than to see Arnie Beyeler in the big leagues, because he really earned it. It’s not a promotion because he won the International League. For him to do what he did last year it’s really special. They won the Governors’ Cup and they promoted 23 players. To have that many guys go up and still win is special. It was a tremendous job by Arnie.”
And, DiSarcina knows he will have his own challenges ahead of him.
“I think figuring out our identity,” he said, of one his main challenges. “To me, it takes about six or seven weeks to figure out our identity, figure out what kind of game we can play. If you have all speed guys, it’s great, you can let them have the green light. But if you don’t have all speed guys, you got to figure out who you can hit-and-run with. That’s going to be a challenge for me. When to hit-and-run, when to bunt, when to steal. Because we have a different group.
“So, my challenge is for me to get to know them. They don’t have to get to know me. They’re just going to go out and play. But I have to know their strengths and weaknesses and not put them in position to fail but put them in position to succeed. That’s my main goal is to make sure they’re always in a position to succeed.”