PAWTUCKET – Arnie Beyeler was sitting at the head of a table in a conference room at snow-covered McCoy Stadium on Friday afternoon, performing his first official act as manager of the Pawtucket Red Sox.
PawSox president Mike Tamburro did the honors by introducing the club’s third manager in three seasons to the assembled media before presenting Beyeler a home jersey with No. 22 emblazoned on the back. With that, Beyeler, who appeared bewildered by the frosty temperatures when asked to step outside the toasty board room for pictures with the ballpark serving as a backdrop – he makes his offseason home in Florida – was asked to share his thoughts about becoming Pawtucket’s next skipper.
On the challenges he foresees managing at the Triple-A level as opposed to Double-A, where he was stationed from 2007 through last season:
“The game remains the same, but just working with veteran players more than I have been. I’m sure they’ll be more constant communication with Boston than probably what I’ve used to, maybe more on an hourly basis.”
On the expected spike in communication with Red Sox manager Terry Francona:
“When he needed things, when (Portland) got guys on rehab, he was pretty good about checking in. When we’d promote guys, he's very good at calling us and talking about moving these guys along, (saying) ‘You guys are doing a good job’ or ‘Here are some things we need to see’ or ‘How's this guy doing?,’ checking up on players. Just the fact he communicated with us was a big deal.”
On his communication while in Portland was mainly with Ron Johnson and Torey Lovullo, the two men who preceded him in the Pawtucket dugout:
“In the last couple seasons that’s where most of my communication lies because we’re moving players back and forth. Being around our big-league staff the last couple of years, I would pick up the phone and bounce things off the (Boston) coaches all the time. We would talk to (Boston hitting coach Dave Magadan) about our hitters and (ex-pitching coach/now Toronto manager John Farrell) about pitchers and adjustments and certain things with guys. I would talk to (Sox bench coach) DeMarlo (Hale) about coaching third base … just game stuff, situational things that you would see on TV. I just want to know what they think about things just to get another outlook or opinion.”
On handling prospects at the Triple-A level after managing so many of them in Portland:
“I think the familiarity with those guys is going to be really good for me. Sometime or another most of them have come through Portland. They are all good players and I’m looking forward to working with them again.”
On whether that familiarity will pave the way for a smooth transition:
“It will help, definitely for (the players). They’ve been around me and know how we do things. From an organizational standpoint, we are pretty consistent on how we do things. I think that was a big selling point for me and hoping to get the opportunity to come up here. The people in Boston know me and know what I can do and hopefully we can keep things rolling.”
On how evaluating the talent changes now he’s in Triple-A:
“(Evaluating comes) probably a little bit more from a performance standpoint, I would think, at the Triple-A level. From a prospect standpoint, it’s easy to sit down there in Portland and (say), ‘This guy’s a prospect. He's a young guy.’ When you get up here (in Pawtucket), it’s a lot more about performance. When those guys go to Boston, it’s all about performance. From that standpoint, the conversations would probably turn a little bit more towards that than the prospect status.”
On the challenge of handling players who know the roster in Boston is set in stone:
“It's a communication thing and you’re just going to have to talk with guys. The players know what's going on, too. They see that. We were very fortunate last year as an organization, with those injuries, for all of our young players to get a chance to play up there, from a minor-league perspective. It wasn't too great from a fan standpoint and probably a Boston perspective because of the way it ended up, to not have those guys there all year. But, from a minor-league perspective, to get all the young guys those opportunities up there and to get their feet wet in the big leagues, you can't give them that. It doesn't matter where we play or where you put them. They can't get that big-league experience (in the minor leagues).”
On recalling July 31, 2009, a day that ended with outfielder Josh Reddick being promoted from Double-A Portland directly to the Red Sox:
“We were all in limbo because it was the trading deadline. We got into Harrisburg in the middle of the night and the next morning I get a call from (farm director Mike Hazen) that we need to get Reddick to the big leagues. At that time I didn’t know if he was going with (Boston) or with someone else. We called him a couple times and he was wearing a Mohawk, which we told him to cut. Luckily we had time to do that while things were spinning around.
“We finally got him on a shuttle and (out of Pennsylvania) and he went to Baltimore. I still didn’t know whether he was going to play for us or whether he was going to be traded. We got a note later in the day that he was in (Boston’s) lineup.
“Most of those moves, we usually get a heads up. You try and do the best you can, especially when you’re on the road.”
On approaching the delicate issue of wins/losses at Triple-A:
"Winning is part of development, there's no doubt about that. Learning how to win is important, but I think we all know that we don't get paid for wins and losses in the minor leagues. We need to get guys ready. I've always believed that if you play hard then you'll win your share of games."