PAWTUCKET – As Kevin Boles discovered this spring, the day-to-day duties and responsibilities of managing the Pawtucket Red Sox will come in good time.
Reached over the weekend from Fort Myers, Boles noted that he and PawSox coach Bruce Crabbe remained with the parent club until the near completion of Grapefruit League play. Keeping the Triple-A manager around the big-league atmosphere is a fairly common practice for the Red Sox, as Boles recalled that his PawSox predecessor, Gary DiSarcina, reported to the minors just as camp was set to conclude.
Boles should know. A year ago, he kept DiSarcina’s seat warm while managing Pawtucket during its exhibition schedule. This year the task fell to Billy McMillon, who replaces Boles as Double-A Portland’s skipper. Needless to say, Boles cherished the privilege of soaking up big-league life for an additional stretch.
“What a wonderful experience. Our major-league staff is terrific and incredibly hardworking, organized and detailed,” expressed Pawtucket’s first-year manager. “It was a great experience and very beneficial because there’s always adjustments to the fundamentals and terminology along with learning the different tweaks that are involved year to year.”
Looking to not step on anyone’s toes, Boles would park himself on the far end of the bench and marvel at the precision taking place out on the field. As the exhibition games progressed, he would slide down in the direction of Boston’s coaching brain trust.
“I would watch the signs being relayed by (Boston third-base coach) Brian Butterfield and see the outfield interaction with (former PawSox manager and current Red Sox first-base coach) Arnie Beyeler,” Boles regaled. “Then I’d sit down with (bench coach) Torey (Lovullo), (manager) John (Farrell) and (pitching coach) Juan Nieves and just watched how they viewed different plays.”
While Boles admitted that he kept tabs on who was being reassigned to the minors, he steered clear of processing the Pawtucket roster that would be accompanying him north.
“Some things went down to the wire this year, but that’s what normally happens. You have to see who gets through healthy,” he acknowledged. “You really don’t know until you break camp, but I think we have a pretty good idea now.”
The final PawSox roster won’t be solidified until Tuesday, which coincides with media day at McCoy Stadium. Prior to smiling for the cameras, Boles will conduct a team meeting as well as meet with Pawtucket’s front office.
“We want to give the players a chance to get there. We don’t want them rushing,” said Boles, who was scheduled to fly into Rhode Island on Sunday night. “These guys have been going hard for seven weeks. Now they’ve got to get their housing in order.”
The idea that the PawSox players are one phone call away from the majors is something that already resonates with Boles.
“It’s exciting just because how close these guys are. We had some guys in Portland last year who were close, but this is a whole other level,” said Boles. “Just to see the guys working at major-league camp, no one is talking about last year. Everyone has turned the page and now asks ‘what can we do this year?’ It’s definitely an exciting group to be a part of for sure. They’re ready and looking forward to it.”
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03