Salem's Lavarnway off to torrid start

Red Sox prospect records second straight five-RBI game

Ryan Lavarnway leads the Carolina League with a .433 batting average. (Tom Priddy/

By Daren Smith / | April 16, 2010 6:25 PM

In Ryan Lavarnway and Tim Federowicz, the Red Sox have two solid catching prospects. And the organization continues to find playing time for both at Class A Advanced Salem.

Lavarnway had his second straight five-RBI game on Friday, falling a triple shy of the cycle, as the Red Sox coasted to a 13-2 thumping of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

A former sixth-round pick, Lavarnway homered twice in Thursday's 7-2 victory at Lynchburg. He continued his solid start to the season in the opener of a three-game series with the Pelicans.

"I've just been seeing the ball really well," the 22-year-old Yale product said. "I've done a good job the last couple of nights."

On Friday, Myrtle Beach scored twice in the top of the first innings, but back-to-back RBI doubles by Anthony Rizzo and Lavarnway tied it in the bottom half. Lavarnway put Salem in front to stay with a three-run homer in the third, then singled in the fourth.

"The only thing I can ask for is that it continues," said the California native, who already has five multi-hit efforts and leads the Carolina League with a .433 batting average in seven games.

Lavarnway and Federowicz were teammates for three months at Class A Greenville last season before Federowicz was promoted to Salem.

"At this point, he's getting the bulk of the catching work here and I'm DHing a lot," Lavarnway said. "The way it happened last year in Greenville, he got the bulk of catching work the first half, then got promoted. I moved from DH/backup catcher to the starting catcher role."

Lavarnway thrived, leading the South Atlantic League with 59 extra-base hits, tying for second with 87 RBIs and finishing third with 21 homers.

"I try not to set a goal as far as what city I'm going to be playing in and what team because that's completely out of my control. That's the job of the front office," he said. "You always set numbers and you re-evaluate as the season goes along. You always want to hit .300, you'd like to try to get 20 homers. I know the Carolina League is typically a pitchers' league, but you set round numbers as goals."

Lavarnway said he and Federowicz bounce ideas off one another and get along well. But he wouldn't mind getting in some time behind the plate.

"I don't know how it goes as far as keeping me fresh, but I enjoy catching. It keeps me in the game," he said. "It helps my knowledge of the strike zone. It helps my vision as far as tracking pitchers."

Daren Smith is an editor for This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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