PawSox notes: New manager has seen it all

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PawSox notes: New manager has seen it all

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

PAWTUCKET, RI The resume of new Pawtucket Red Sox manager Arnie Beyeler has been checked off at just about every level. He is entering his eighth season managing in the Red Sox organization, including the last four with Double-A Portland. He has also coached and managed in the Padres, Rangers, and Yankees organizations, in the winter leagues, including this year in the Venezuelan Winter League, and was a scout for the Tigers.

But, Beyeler, who turns 47 in February, is entering his first season managing at the Triple-A level. He knows the challenges at Double A are different than those for a Triple-A manager, where he will have both prospects and veterans on his roster.

I think probably handling the older players and allowing them to do what they do and then still keeping the younger players on track and keeping them on the way up, said Beyeler, after signing autographs and greeting several hundred fans at the PawSox annual Hot Stove Party at McCoy Stadium on Saturday.

Keeping the older players sharp and hungry, keeping the younger players on track, and keeping everybody happy.

Having managed the Portland SeaDogs for the past four seasons, Beyeler was responsible for the development of several players who recently impacted the big league team including outfielder Ryan Kalish, who made his big league debut last season, and pitcher Casey Kelly, who was the key in the Adrian Gonzalez trade with the Padres. His familiarity with the players and the organization should be an asset in his new role. Joining him on Saturday were several players would could be playing their home games at McCoy at some point this season catcher Ryan Lavarnway, and pitchers Robert Coello, Stephen Fife, and Jason Rice.

Beyeler had those four at Portland in 2010 as well as several others who could be joining him in Pawtucket this season.

Yeah, the familiarity helps me a lot, said Beyeler. Im comfortable with those guys. I know those guys. I feel like I know their strengths and what we need to work on with them, and hopefully can continue to improve and keep them rolling. But I think especially from the standpoint of relationships it kind of gives me a head start.

The new job will also have new challenges for Beyeler, including communicating with the big league staff more often.

Thrilled for him. Very excited for him, said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. Hes been a long-time guy thats put his time in and its a really good opportunity and Im excited to work with him. The Triple-A manager we probably work with a lot closer with than the Double-A just because thats the next step. So Im looking forward to it.

Red Sox farm director Mike Hazen said earlier this week Lavarnway, who is below catchers Luis Exposito and Mark Wagner on the organizational depth chart, is a long shot to start the season at Pawtucket.

Thats not necessarily his fault, Hazen said. He still needs some development time, he only had a half a year at Double A. He did go to the Fall League. I mean, I wouldnt put anything out of the realm of possibility but probably not likely at this point just because of the other guys that we have and on the roster that need their reps as well that we believe are going to be major league catchers as well.

Lavarnway, who turned 23 in August, was promoted from High-A Salem to Portland in midseason. He hit a combined .288 with 22 home runs and 102 RBI in 126 games in 2010. He also played in the Arizona Fall League, batting .268 with three home runs and 12 RBI in 21 games. His goals for 2011 are to continue to refine his defense.

I just want to finish polishing off my game, said Lavarnway, who was taken in the sixth round of the 2008 draft out of Yale, where he was a philosophy major. At this point I think I do a lot of things well but Im not perfect by any means. I want to continue to throw the ball well to second base and put myself in an athletic position to make that throw. I want to help receive. As we get to the big leagues these pitchers are going to have better and better stuff and the minor things that I might do wrong and get away with in the minor leagues are going to become more obvious.

Fife, who turned 24 in October, posted a record of 8-6, with a 4.75 ERA in 26 starts for Portland in 2010, his third professional season, and could be part of the PawSox rotation this season. A native of Boise, Idaho, the right-hander never drew a lot of scouts to his games in high school or at the University of Utah. And, were it not for a certain Thursday night game in 2008, he may have fallen much lower than the third round in which the Sox claimed him in that years draft.

Starting for Utah, he was opposed by San Diego States Stephen Strasburg, who despite not being eligible for the draft that year still drew scores of scouts.

That was a crazy night, Fife said with a laugh. It was a Thursday night in college baseball, which is not a night where anybody does anything. So, for San Diego State to sell out, and he punched out 23, hit like 103 mph in the eighth inning. I was told by many scouts I looked like a Little Leaguer versus him. But it was a crazy night. The response I got from them was well you might have looked that way but it was a really good performance, which is kind of why I stand here today. That was a special night, for sure. His performance, one, and then just for us to compete, as Utah, compete against San Diego State was a pretty good feat in itself.

Despite his teams 1-0 loss to Strasburg that night, Fife figures that game put him on the radar for many teams.

Absolutely, he said. I had heard for the majority of my career, youre looking at 10-20 roundwise in the draft. And being in Utah, not a lot of scouts travel to the Four Corners to see guys in the high mountains. So it definitely opened some eyes, pitching well in that game and having the stuff I had in that game against the guy that had much superior stuff and competing with him. It definitely put me on the map.

Despite the numerous injuries that ravaged the big league roster, necessitating several major league debuts, right-hander Coello may have been the unlikeliest of call-ups. Coello, who turned 26 in November, was drafted by the Reds in the 20th round of the 2004 draft out of Okaloosa-Walton Community College in Florida as a catcher. But, after an injury, the Reds released him at the end of spring training in 2006. He signed with the Angels in September that year and was converted to a pitcher for 2007.

I actually had played around with the forkball when I was in high school and college, Coello said. When the Angels had converted me to pitch, I said, Hey, I have this pitch. And they laughed for a second, and they were like, Whered you come up with this? And it was a split, my forkball I call it. But its just the only pitch that I can really say that I was practicing, not practicing but throwing.

But the Angels released him and he pitched in the independent Golden League in 2008. The Sox acquired him after that season.

In 2010, he pitched at three levels for the Red Sox Portland, Pawtucket, and Boston.

The biggest improvement I made last year was when I started in Double-A, he said. Just worked every day on my routinesMy biggest jump was learning from my mistakes and making sure they dont happen again, just staying with a positive look on things and getting that jump to the big leagues.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Bogaerts has three hits, three RBI as Red Sox beat Rangers, 11-6

Bogaerts has three hits, three RBI as Red Sox beat Rangers, 11-6

BOSTON - Xander Bogaerts and the Boston Red Sox don't need help putting runs on the board right now. They got some from the Texas Rangers anyway.

Bogaerts had three RBI and twice scored on wild pitches, Dustin Pedroia had a two-run double during a four-run sixth inning and the Red Sox beat the Rangers 11-6 on Tuesday night.

"That's the kind of offense we have," Bogaerts said. "The weather's heating up and a lot of guys are putting good swings on the ball. It was a good win today. A lot of guys contributed."

Boston won its second in a row and once again did it primarily with offense. Coming off a 12-3 win at Oakland on Sunday, the Red Sox pummeled one of the hottest teams in the AL and helped Rick Porcello get just his second home win this season.

Porcello (3-5) won despite allowing 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner struck out four and allowed five runs, four earned.

"We got the win. That's what's most important. Obviously you don't want to go out there and give up five runs or whatever it was," Porcello said. "Our guys swung the bats extremely well and played really good defense and we were able to come out with it tonight."

Joey Gallo got his 14th homer for Texas, and Shin-Soo Choo went 2 for 5 with two RBIs.

Texas entered having won 11 of 12. The 11 runs allowed marked a season high.

The Rangers outhit the Red Sox 13-12 and Boston left eight runners on base, but Texas could not overcome eight walks, one of them intentional.

"It was the walks. Really that's been a nemesis from time to time this year," manager Jeff Banister said. "It's the freebies that showed up again tonight that got us in trouble."

Andrew Cashner (1-4) pitched five innings, allowing five runs, six hits and four walks. He also threw a pair of wild pitches, one of them allowing Bogaerts to score from third and put Boston up 2-1 after three.

Bogaerts was 3 for 5 and took advantage of misfires by Cashner and Jeremy Jeffress to score, and Andrew Benintendi came home on a balk by Alex Claudio in the eighth. Pedroia, who had his 500th career multihit game, and Mitch Moreland finished with two hits and two RBIs apiece.

Texas went to the bullpen in the sixth and the Red Sox broke open the game. Deven Marrero and Mookie Betts both walked with two outs and scored on Pedroia's double to right. Bogaerts followed with another double that scored Pedroia. Two more walks loaded the bases and Bogaerts scored on Jeffress' wild pitch, putting Boston up 9-3.

LET'S TALK

Boston manager John Farrell said the Red Sox took advantage of the day off Monday with a team meeting to chat about how the season had gone so far - and not just the areas that have kept Boston hovering around .500.

"It was also to re-emphasize the things that are going well here and not just to pick out all that is wrong here. There are a number of things going right and a number of those things were on display here tonight," Farrell said.

ROUGHED-UP RANGERS

Of his 90 pitches, Cashner threw 54 for strikes and was still irked after the game about walking four batters in five innings of work.

"I thought the walks in certain spots definitely hurt me. I think it could have been a different game had some things gone differently," Cashner said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rangers: 3B Adrian Beltre (strained right calf) did some running before the game and is making progress toward a return, manager Jeff Banister said. Beltre's next evaluation will be Thursday, and he could be back by the beginning of June, Banister said. ... Boston sent RHP Tyson Ross (thoracic outlet syndrome) on a rehab assignment to Triple-A Round Rock.

Red Sox: Called up 1B Sam Travis from Triple-A Pawtucket and optioned RHP Hector Velazquez to Pawtucket. Travis will platoon with Moreland. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval (right knee sprain) was ill and out of the lineup for Pawtucket in a rehab game. Manager John Farrell said Sandoval might need only two more rehab starts before returning.

UP NEXT

Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (2-5, 3.71 ERA) struck out eight in his last start, allowing two runs on five hits over seven innings Thursday against Philadelphia for his second win of the season.

Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (4-2, 2.19 ERA) is riding a streak of eight consecutive starts with 10 or more strikeouts, an MLB record he also achieved in 2015 and shares with Pedro Martinez (1999).

Dombrowski defends John Farrell after group strategy meeting on Monday

Dombrowski defends John Farrell after group strategy meeting on Monday

BOSTON -- The Red Sox braintrust had a meeting on Monday's off-day to strategize with a 22-21 team that's underperforming and in third place.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told NESN's Tom Caron on the Sox pre-game show that he was part of a meeting with Farrell, assistant general managers Eddie Romero and Brian O'Halloran and vice president of baseball research and development Zack Scott.

"We sat down yesterday for over a couple hours," Dombrowski told Caron. "I [had] already talked to some of our scouts and just kind of [went] over our club to try to get it to fit together a little bit. Because some of those things, the injuries, and even the guys that are playing, like in Hanley [Ramirez's] case, it does affect what you’re trying to do. So normally at this time of year, I think you have a better pulse [of the team]. But I think we need a little bit more time. We just really haven’t flowed as a club. We haven’t played as well as I think we’re capable of and I think we need to give ourselves that opportunity."

Asked about Farrell's job security, Dombrowski defended a manager whose 2018 option was picked up over the winter.

"Well, we won a divisional crown last year," Dombrowski said. "He managed very well for us at the time. I think that John, as well as everybody else, is frustrated by our performance and that we haven’t taken off, but we’re not buried either. I mean, we’re four games out of first place and we really haven’t been in a flow. And when you look at it, it’s like, OK, last week Thursday we won two great games in St. Louis. I wasn’t with the team, I was in Salem. 

"Well I looked at the match-up on Thursday, and I’m thinking, well if [Sonny] Gray throws like he’s capable, I’m not sure what we’re going to get out of [Hector] Velazquez at that particular time. And of course, Velazquez didn’t have a very good outing. So you lose that ball game. Is that John’s fault? I can’t put that on John. 

"Friday night, you have Chris Sale, he threw the ball very well. Well the play that Trevor Plouffe made on Hanley Ramirez, I don’t know if he’s made a play like that all year long. Mookie Betts, in the ninth inning gets a line drive right at the third baseman. Well, you have a chance to score five or six runs, didn’t happen. No excuses, but it’s one of those where I think to pin those things on John Farrell are just not fair. I think we’re in a position where he’s managed well, he’s managed divisional champions. I think we’re in a position, we have a good club. We just need to get in a better flow of things."

Dombrowski felt the Sox were harder to evaluate a quarter into the season than most teams would be.

"Because the reality is when you look at our ballclub, it really hasn’t been together at all at any point during the year for me," he said. "So I think when you look at it, you say OK, well, we need to improve our fourth and fifth starters. Well, David Price comes back next week — we think he’ll be back next week. So that’s a pretty big addition, that’s like making a major trade. 

"I still think Drew Pomeranz, although he has scuffled at times, should be a fourth-, fifth-type starter on a good club. … We need to straighten him out. I think he’s capable of doing that. When you talk about bullpen, our bullpen’s been good but I still think we’re going to get Carson Smith in a short time period, so that’s another addition that we have.

"Third base, you know has been a hole for us where Pablo Sandoval could be back very soon. I’m not sure where Brock Holt fits into that whole equation. So we’re really on our fifth third baseman right now when you look at it. Pablo is there, and then Brock Holt was there. Marco Hernandez is going to have surgery, we’re going to miss him for the rest of the year. Josh Rutledge has been over there."

Holt, out with vertigo, and the Red Sox are regrouping. Holt's exhausted the 20 days permitted for a minor league rehab stint, and is heading to Pittsburgh to meet concussion expert Micky Collins. Another rehab stint figures to follow eventually, barring a change in diagnosis.

Hernandez is to have surgery on his left shoulder Friday, which likely ends his season.

Hanley Ramirez can still be the DH, but his sore shoulders have relegated him to only that position, not first base. That's part of the reason Sam Travis was added to the roster Tuesday.

"There’s a couple reasons behind it," Dombrowski said of Travis' call-up.  "We’re in a position where we have a roster spot for a positional player. Secondly, we’ve talked about giving Mitch [Moreland] a little bit of a blow on his feet at times, to not play too many games. And we faced a left hand pitcher tomorrow [in the Rangers' Martin Perez]. He’s been hitting the ball well, Sam has. 

"We’re trying to sit [Moreland] a little bit vs. the left-handed pitching. Even though he’s done OK, we just don’t want him to get too tired as the year goes on. And the reality is, originally that was going to be Hanley [playing first base vs. lefties]. Well, Hanley’s not available to do that now, so we needed to make an adjustment ourself on how to do that. And with the extra roster spot, Pawtucket right down the road, we figure it’s a good chance to give him that opportunity. 

"In Hanley’s case, not playing first base, people don’t realize at times how much that changes the mix of your club. Because at some time, we are going to have Chris Young get at-bats and DH at that point."