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By BRENDAN McGAIR
PAWTUCKET â€“ In a move that was widely expected, the Red Sox named 47-year-old Dave Joppie as Pawtucketâ€™s new hitting coach on Friday. Joppie spent the previous five seasons with Double-A Portland and has been working in Bostonâ€™s farm system since 2006.
According to farm director Ben Crockett, the reason for promoting Joppie stems from the work heâ€™s done with the organizationâ€™s young talent. In his tenure with the Sea Dogs, Joppie worked with notables such as Josh Reddick, Ryan Kalish, Jose Iglesias, Daniel Nava, Ryan Lavarnway and Will Middlebrooks. In 2012, Joppieâ€™s list of Portland pupils included promising sorts Bryce Brentz, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts.
â€śHeâ€™s worked with our top prospects and had a ton of success at that level,â€ť Crockett stated. â€śHe does a great job of building relationships by gaining their trust and sticking to the process â€“ focusing on each at-bat and moment in time.â€ť
With Brentz having already reached Pawtucket and Bradley Jr. and Bogaerts close to doing the same, having a familiar face such as Joppie around figures to make for a seamless transition in terms of student-teacher relationship.
â€śHopefully there will be a core of guys in Pawtucket that have played for Dave in Portland, which gives stability in terms of the message delivered,â€ť Crockett said. â€śCertainly we know heâ€™s going to work hard to reach every single player.â€ť
Serving as a hitting coach on a team that included Brentz during the recently completed Arizona Fall League, Joppie succeeds Gerald Perry, who Boston chose not to bring back to Pawtucket. Former Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman will assume the hitting-coach duties for Portland after spending last season with Single-A Salem.