"I've just been preparing physically and mentally for another year. I got sick for a little bit in Venezuela, but I got healthy and started hitting the grindstone," said Lavarnway. "I've just wanted to maintain.
"You're always trying to get better, but I was really happy about how last year went and I'm just trying to build off that and try to do a lot of similar things to try and repeat."
The twenty-four year old catcher began the 2011 season in Double-A Portland, but, after heading to Boston for a stint, was sent to Pawtucket. This offseason, Lavarnway was selected for Boston's 40-man roster and was able to spend spring training with the Red Sox in Florida.
In Lavarnway's eyes, though, Spring Training is about more than just the physical aspects of the game: it's about the behind-the-scenes aspects of baseball, too.
"I thought it was great," Lavarnway said. "I got to know a new coaching staff and start to build relationships with the guys on the team. There are always things that you can learn, even if it's just the ways that guys interact with each other, like the way that Varitek used to command respect by the way that he handled himself. There are always little things that you can learn."
The 6-foot-4 catcher seems very comfortable with where he's at, but is conscious of the fact that it's not all about what he's done in the past. He must stay active and continue to perform in order to return to the majors.
"It's just about consistency. There are always things to be learned every day," he said of his defensive abilities at catcher. "Baseball is very much a game of ‘what have you done for me lately,' so, you know, last year is over with.
"I'm just looking forward to starting a new year and hopefully I get off to a strong start. The biggest thing is staying healthy and staying consistent and being available to play well when an opportunity arises."
At this point in Lavarnway's progression, it seems like it's all about proving himself. It is clear that he can produce, but the goal now is to be consistent in showing the coaches, both in Pawtucket and in Boston, what he can do.
"The bottom line is, we give these guys a day or two to think about things, but then we got to go play baseball. They got to do what they're paid to do and basically I just challenge these guys all the time to show the organization they made a mistake and fight their way back," said manager Arnie Beyeler regarding being sent to the minors. "The bottom line is, throw some numbers up and you won't have to worry about it."
Beyeler and Lavarnway appear to be on the same page here as it is clear that there is an understanding that while attitude, mental development, and other intangibles are highly important, the numbers need to follow along. This falls in line with what the catcher had to say about his own development—that, now, it is all about consistency.
"[He] had a real good spring. Right now we're just trying to get started," said hitting coach Gerald Perry about Lavarnway's development, "and we'll see what we might need to focus on more than anything. But really [he] just had a solid year last year. I'd like to see him stay aggressive and have quality at-bats and we'll see where to go day in and day out."
While Gerald Perry didn't have anything specific that he'd like to see Lavarnway work on for now, it is clear that his potential is high and his development is truly a matter of performing consistently and showing people what he can do.
PAWTUCKET, RI - Ryan Lavarnway is coming off of a strong season. He combined for 32 home runs between Double-A Portland (14) and Triple-A Pawtucket (18) to go along with 93 total RBI's. Lavarnway was called up to the majors for seventeen games and has been working to get ready for another strong year in Pawtucket so that he can return to Boston.
Lavarnway Looking For Repeat
Ryan Lavarnway had such a great season last year that now he's looking for a repeat performance.
Lavarnway wants to post similar numbers
Apr 6, 2012