Valentine on catching options


Valentine on catching options

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- When the Red Sox signed veteran catcher Kelly Shoppach in the off-season, it seemed to preclude Ryan Lavarnway from starting the season with the big league club.

With two and a half weeks to go before the opener, that's still the case. But if nothing else, Lavarnway has made being optioned to Pawtucket a somewhat tougher call for Red Sox management.

Manager Bobby Valentine noted that Lavarnway has made great strides behind the plate though "not necessarily in game situations. He's definitely graded better in (catching instructor Gary) Tuck's evaluations and in my eye. He's going about it the right way. He's
there until the ninth inning every day, and he's not (just) sitting on the bench. He's actually watching what's going on. He's evaluating and processing it. It's the right thing to do.''

Jarrod Saltalamacchia is the No. 1 catcher, with Shoppach the veteran backup with the ability to catch and throw well.

Valentine said the Sox would almost certainly not carry three catchers ("high possibility that I will not go with three"), meaning that Lavarnway would have to beat out Shoppach to win a spot.

That's unlikely to happen, given Shoppach's experience and relatively affordable salary (1.35 million), plus the fact, as a newly-signed free agent, Shoppach would have to give his permission to be dealt before June 15.
Lavarnway would give the Sox an interesting righthanded bat off the bench, but the feeling in the organization is that he could benefit more from catching regularly at Pawtucket -- at least to start the season.

"I don't think I'm there,'' cautioned Valentine. "Don't go writing articles tomorrow (saying) Valentine announces it's Lavarnway time.' Eventually, (Lavarnway getting to the big leagues) is going to happen. I don't know if it's on my watch, but sometime. But if the season's starting tomorrow, it would not happen.''

Celtics sign former Laker second-rounder Ryan Kelly

Celtics sign former Laker second-rounder Ryan Kelly

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics made one more roster move on Friday, but not the one many were anticipating.

Instead of trimming the training camp roster down to 15 players, the Celtics expanded it by signing Ryan Kelly.

The 6-foot-11 forward appeared in six games for the Atlanta Hawks during the preseason, averaging 4.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

A former second round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2013, Kelly has appeared in 147 games with career averages of 6.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

Boston already has a stacked roster at the power forward/center position, which is why they decided to waive second round pick and former Providence College star Ben Bentil earlier on Friday.

The addition of Kelly, on the surface at least, doesn't make a lot of sense.

But the Celtics are trying to build a team for the present while keeping an eye on the future.

When the Celtics waived Bentil, they did so with the knowledge that he was unlikely to sign with their Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

But with Kelly, the veteran big man will likely wind up with the Red Claws which will allow the Celtics to get a closer look at him without impacting their roster status which is currently at 16, one above the league-maximum.

The final roster spot will come down to James Young and R.J. Hunter. The Celtics have until 5 p.m. Monday to make a decision, a decision that team officials have repeatedly said in recent days will come down to the wire.