Ryan Lavarnway worrying about power production, not trade rumors

Rob Bradford
March 19, 2014 - 6:51 pm

FORT MYERS, Fla. --  The Red Sox haven'€™t talked to Ryan Lavarnway about trade rumors. And he doesn'€™t expect them to. "I know that I have no control over that," said Lavarnway, who '€“ according to a CSNNE.com report -- is being shopped by the Red Sox. "I'€™m happy to play for the Red Sox. This is the only organization I'€™ve ever known. They gave me my opportunity and they'€™ve been really good to me. I would love to stay here. Then again, if there are opportunities, we'€™ll see where that goes." But the Sox have made one thing perfectly clear. "For the first time they pointed out that hitting for power is going to be really important for me,"€ Lavarnway said. '€œThat was stated more clearly this spring training then it ever has been." When asked if the message included the suggestion that advancement in the organization would be contingent on increasing the extra-base capabilities, Lavarnway said, '€œThey just said it'€™s important.'€ The catcher/first baseman/designated hitter has evidently taken the mandate to heart. Heading into Thursday, he has totaled two homers, a double, a .929 OPS and .345 batting average thus far this spring. It'€™s in image that is reminiscent of the production turned in by Lavarnway during a 2011 minor league season in which he totaled 32 home runs an a .939 OPS between Double- and Triple-A. "€œMy swing feels strong. I feel strong. I feel like I have good direction with my approach and I'€™m swinging at the right pitches. I'€™m happy where I'€™m at,"€ he said. "€œWorking with [Red Sox hitting coach Greg Colbrunn] Colby and [assistant Red Sox hitting coach Victor Rodriguez] Vic and [Triple-A hitting coach] Dave Joppie, these are guys who has seen me have success in the past, especially Vic and Joppie. They were with me when I was at my best in 2011 and they'€™re helping me get back to do some of the things I was doing then that I maybe didn'€™t necessarily know I was doing. I think I'€™ve learned a lot about my swing the last couple of years, what works and what doesn'€™t." Lavarnway has split his time almost evenly between playing catcher, his new position at first, and DH. With the newfound flexibility, along with a better understanding of what might make each at-bat work, Lavarnway there has been no better time to garner a major league opportunity. But with the Red Sox organizational catching depth, he also understands there are no certainties when it comes to what awaits in '€™14. "In a perfect world, but I don'€™t have any control over that other than influencing decisions with my play,"€ said Lavarnway of cementing himself in the majors. "€œI think it'€™s safe to say with each passing year, I'€™ve felt more prepared than the year before. I feel good where I'€™m at, my swing, my catching and first base is coming along quicker than I expected."