Ryan Lavarnway's devotion to a balanced approach has led him to an amazing month.
The Red Sox's No. 3 prospect was 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI as Triple-A Pawtucket lost to Syracuse, 6-5, in 11 innings Wednesday.
Lavarnway doubled in the first inning, singled home Josh Kroeger in the third, doubled and later scored in the sixth and singled in the eighth. He walked in his final plate appearance in the ninth.
"I got my good rhythm going right now and I feel comfortable. I'm seeing the ball well right now," Lavarnway said.
The 24-year-old backstop has enjoyed a terrific June, batting .404 with four homers and 15 RBIs in 14 games. Lavarnway has had two four-hit games in that time and has 14 hits over his last four games. He credits finding an equilibrium in his approach for his recent success.
"I found the right level of aggression for my approach at the plate," he said. "It's the balance between being aggressive enough driving the ball and being patient enough to make sure to swing at the right pitches."
Overall, Lavarnway is batting .306 with seven homers and 32 RBIs for the Red Sox. He is currently sixth in the International League in average and leads all catchers in the league in longballs, RBIs and runs scored (36).
For most prospects, a strong month in Triple-A would make them a shoo-in for a promotion. In Lavarnway's case, there's more in play. Boston catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia
and Kelly Shoppach have combined for 16 homers and 45 RBIs, with both owning slugging percentages over .500. Simply put, there's no room at the moment for the California native, a fact that he was aware of as early as Spring Training.
"I looked at it realistically. We had two talented catchers on the big league roster and [manager] Bobby Valentine said publicly he didn't want to carry three catchers," Lavarnway said. "I gave it my best, but I knew there was a realistic chance I would end up back in Triple-A.
"I'm just here working my butt off and trying to help the team win. When the opportunity presents itself, I want to be ready to go."
Justin Germano was denied his ninth win of the season despite allowing a run on three hits while fanning three over seven innings for Pawtucket. Daniel Bard surrendered two runs on two hits over 1 1/3 innings of relief.
Corey Brown plated a pair of runs while Jarrett Hoffpauir knocked in the winning run with a walk-off single in the 11th.