After placing third basemen Kevin Youkilis on the 15-day disabled list with a sore back, the Boston Red Sox have used the vacant roster spot by calling up catcher/designated hitter Ryan Lavarnway from Triple-A Pawtucket, as first reported by NESN.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Lavarnway would probably be used as the designated hitter while David Ortiz recovers from bursitis in his right heel."
The 24-year-old Lavarnway was hitting .293/.372/.559 with 30 home runs in 478 plate appearances between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket. ESPN's Jason Grey wrote Lavarnway's strengths and weaknesses at the plate:
I like that he generates pop with a small load and a short stroke for a power hitter. That helps compensate for his lack of good bat speed. He has power to all fields and has gotten less pull-happy this season thanks to more consistent leverage, getting both halves of his body in better sync with each other. (At times last year, I saw his timing was off because of his weight shift.) Another positive is he can make decent contact with solid knowledge of the strike zone. A big, 6-foot-4 right-handed hitter, Lavarnway can be busted inside with good heat. Double-A and Triple-A hurlers don't hit those spots inside on the hands as well, but big league pitchers will be able to take more advantage of that.
While Lavarnway possess the ability to hit at the majors, Grey doesn't believe ball clubs will want Lavarnway's defensive skill set behind the plate on an everyday basis. That won't be an issue the Red Sox will need to address right now.
Ryan Lavarnway went 0-for-4 in his major league debut with the Red Sox.