Torey Lovullo

Before Alex Rodriguez could reach big leagues, he needed to unseat Torey Lovullo

John Tomase
May 03, 2015 - 3:20 pm

Torey Lovullo owns a very tiny footnote in the agate type of history '€“ when Alex Rodriguez debuted at Fenway Park with the Mariners in 1994, Lovullo was the player jettisoned to make room for him on the roster. Just call it Six Degrees of Torey. "It's a little bit of useless information: I was the guy sent down for A-Rod to start his career," the Red Sox bench coach said before the team hosted Rodriguez and the Yankees on Sunday night. Lovullo was coming off the best season of his career with the Angels in 1993 (.251-6-30) when California waived him at the end of spring training. The Mariners signed the utilityman on April 1 and he remained in the big leagues until July 8, when manager Lou Piniella summoned Lovullo to his hotel room in Boston to break the news that he'd be heading to Triple A Calgary. "I was obviously a guy that was on a different career path than A-Rod at the time," Lovullo said. "I was in the big leagues and the young kid was doing well. I think he came up from Double A to the big leagues to start his career and it worked out great until the strike." Because Lovullo spent that spring with the Angels, he had never seen A-Rod in person, but the 18-year-old's reputation preceeded him. "He was a great prospect," Lovullo said. "Nothing but good things were in his future and it was time to start his clock. I was very well aware of who he was. It was going to be a short time before he got to the big leagues. It came at my expense, unfortunately." Their paths would cross once more later that season. With the strike looming, the Mariners recalled Lovullo and sent Rodriguez to Triple A, where he could continue to develop. Two years later, he was an All-Star and batting champ at age 21. "The major league side of things in 1994 went on strike, the minor league side was still playing, business as usual," Lovullo said. "In order for him to keep playing, they once again flip-flopped us and put me in the big leagues to go on strike and put him in the minor leagues to keep playing." Nearly 20 years later, with Rodriguez closing in on his 40th birthday and looking for career home run No. 661 and sole possession of fourth place on the all-time list, the two are once again together in Boston. "I don't think he even knows my name, to tell you the truth," Lovullo said. "Obviously it worked out pretty well for him, right?"