For Lavarnway, it's not rocket science, or is it?

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For Lavarnway, it's not rocket science, or is it?

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA

Some would say the game of baseball isnt rocket science. Even if it was, Ryan Lavarnway would still be interested in it.

The Boston Red Sox catcher, who was recently recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket, developed a love for physics as a teenager at El Camino Real High School in California. Inspired by his science teacher, Lavarnway chose to study the subject when he enrolled at Yale University, where he also played baseball.

I went to school and I wanted to be a rocket scientist after Mr. C made me fall in love with physics, he said. What kid doesnt want to be an astronaut? I loved understanding how things worked. I loved the mechanics aspect of it -- projectiles in the air and cars. I love knowing how everything around me worked.

Lavarnway, 24, breezed through his first semester, but switched concentrations after encountering the obstacle that is advanced calculus. From physics to philosophy, he chose another academic focus that challenged him in a different way.

I aced my first class in math and physics, and then second semester I couldnt hack it with the math anymore. It was calculus 4 with linear algebra, he said. Then I kind of fell in love with philosophy. I loved the fact that philosophy was kind of an attempt to solve questions that didnt have any answers. There are no right or wrong answers as long as you could prove your point.

Rather than relying on his athletic achievements, Lavarnway grew up in a household where education took precedence over sports. When it came time to change majors, it was only natural for him to select an area that would be mentally stimulating. He may have been playing baseball at Yale, but he was still a college student.

My parents always installed in me that with student athletes, student came first, he said. I couldnt go to baseball practice until my homework was done, growing up. They never took baseball away as a penalty, but it was always there -- take care of your schoolwork first.

I was lucky enough to be a naturally good student. Then when the opportunity to go to an Ivy League school came and I was surrounded by all the history thats there and all the brilliant people, you learn almost more in the dining hall talking with your classmates than you do in the classrooms and the extra work with the professors outside of the class to make sure that youre keeping up with the material. Its just an environment of excellence.

While Lavarnway left Yale early to pursue a career in baseball (he was drafted by the Red Sox in the sixth round of the 2008 amateur draft), there are still times when he can view baseball with a scientific eye. Physics, he says, are part of the game.

I definitely dont sit at night and analyze my swing and efficiency with Netwons laws of physics, but if you were to take a step back you could definitely analyze how curveballs spin, what makes a knuckleball knuckle, and how outfielders read the ball, he said. Theres a lot of physics going around in baseball. We just kind of do it without thinking about it in our heads.

There is one lesson, though, that Lavarnway learned at Yale and has applied to his baseball career. After spending the past month splitting his time between the Red Sox and PawSox, the balanced approach he gained in college has helped him make it to Fenway Park.

The most important thing for me was separating different aspects of your life, he said. When I was at the baseball field, I focused on baseball with all of myself and all of my attention. When I was in the library or the classroom or studying, I went at that with all of myself and all of my attention. Then when I was hanging out with my friends, I had to learn how to let all of that go and just relax and have fun with all of your attention.

That relates to baseball. When youre hitting you cant be thinking about your defense. When Im catching, I cant be thinking about my hitting. Then when I go home, its a 162-game season, a lot of stuff goes on, ups and downs, youve got to be able to let it go.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA

Price turns in encouraging effort in first 2017 start

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Price turns in encouraging effort in first 2017 start

CHICAGO — It’s a start, literally and figuratively.

David Price showed some great velocity in his 2017 Red Sox debut Monday afternoon, hitting 97 mph -- heat he didn’t have last year. At times, the pitcher the Sox badly need to return to form flashed high-level effectiveness as well.

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What everyone expected would be off in Price's first start back, his command, was indeed shaky, considering he allowed more runs (three) than hits (two). But he wasn’t expected to be in tip-top form, and he did a decent job overall.

Price's five-inning, three-run performance against the White Sox came almost exactly three months after he first felt elbow soreness during spring training. The lefty exited with the Red Sox ahead 4-3, though he lost the chance at his first 2017 victory when Chicago scored in the seventh.

All three runs off Price scored on a Melky Cabrera homer in the third inning, which put the White Sox ahead 3-1 at the time. Price walked only two batters on the day, but they happened to be the two hitters in front of Cabrera.

The walk started with the No. 9 hitter, Adam Engel. Tim Anderson, who had drawn just four walks in 181 plate appearances entering the day, got a free pass as well.

But besides the Cabrera homer on a first-pitch fastball that was middle-in, the only other hit Price allowed was a shallow bloop single to center field.

Price finished with four strikeouts, including the first batter he faced on the day, Anderson.

His command issues were nonetheless clear. Price hit two batters to begin his final frame, setting up a fine play for Deven Marrero to record a force out at second before Xander Bogaerts started a inning-ending double play with a fantastic dive, bailing Price out of the first-and-third jam with one out.

With 88 pitches and 58 strikes, Price was more efficient than he was in two rehab outings at Triple-A Pawtucket, and he didn’t get rocked. But he also wasn’t as efficient as the Red Sox will need him to be.

Price was pitching in a calm, pleasant environment (clear skies, temperatures in the 70s, low humidity) that might actually have been more comfortable than the colder clime Price faced in Pawtucket -- where both the fans and temperatures were chilly.

The Red Sox were aggressive bringing Price back so quickly, and set themselves up for a second guess if something went wrong. But Price preserved the second of two leads his offense gave him and didn’t let the game get out of hand. After the Cabrera homer put the White Sox up two, the Red Sox answered immediately in the top of the fourth to tie at 3-3.

The argument that Price did better than anyone else would have in his place is a fair one, considering John Farrell and Co. slated Price to pitch Monday before they watched Brian Johnson’s complete-game shutout.

The bigger question was always about what was best for Price’s future, and Monday looks like something he can build on. He may have benefited from the adrenaline of being back in the majors.

Pedroia lifted in second inning after hurting wrist in collision

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Pedroia lifted in second inning after hurting wrist in collision

CHICAGO -- Injury scares are finding Dustin Pedroia in all the wrong places.

The Red Sox second baseman was pulled in the second inning Monday afternoon against the White Sox because of a left wrist sprain, an injury he seemed to suffer on a collision running to first base in the top of the first inning.

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He and White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu converged on the bag at the same time on a grounder to Abreu, and Pedroia tumbled over Abreu

Pedroia had season-ending surgery on the wrist in September 2014, addressing a tendon issue. Pedroia had surgery on his left knee this year, and missed time after Manny Machado's slide caught him in that leg in April.

Pedroia during the last homestand was pulled as a precaution because of concern for that leg.

Josh Rutledge took over for Pedroia at second base.