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McGair: Where does Ryan Lavarnway fit into Red Sox' plans?; Henry Owens meets the media

January 17, 2014

By BRENDAN McGAIR
bmcgair@pawtuckettimes.com

BOSTON – Nothing is etched in stone, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the PawSox’ catching situation in the hands of Dan Butler and Christian Vazquez when the curtain goes up on the 2014 season.

Another young up-and-comer in the catching ranks to keep an eye on his Blake Swihart, a 21-year-old who appears ticketed to begin the year in Portland even though he’s yet to set foot above Single A. Vazquez and Swihart were two of the more promising Red Sox farmhands in town this week as part of the organization’s rookie development program, a session that concluded Friday with a workout at Harvard Stadium.

With the aforementioned minor-league trio coupled with the catching situation at the big-league level in the hands of veteran newcomer A.J. Pierzynski and steady backup David Ross, it begs the following question: Where does Ryan Lavarnway, viewed not that long ago as a possible long-term backstop option, fit into the equation?

To that end, Boston farm director Ben Crockett said that the team still views Lavarnway as a catcher. Given the crowded picture, it wouldn’t be a total shock to see Lavarnway taking reps at first base during spring training.

“Ryan has been a catcher throughout his entire career. We haven’t discussed any other positions at this point, but things with any player can change as we get up to spring training,” said Crockett, who was joined Friday by Red Sox manager John Farrell and new Pawtucket skipper Kevin Boles.

***

At a time when the Red Sox seem to be well stocked as far young pitching in the upper levels, lefthander Henry Owens has seemingly generated the most buzz, and not just because the 21-year-old is listed at 6-foot-7. Owens could make his way to Pawtucket sooner rather than later season – a plan contingent on him starting strong out of the chute in Portland.

For a chance to learn more about Owens, click on the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8ASoJMcj7o

Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair

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