Lavarnway gets start behind plate

August, 2, 2012
8/02/12
6:21
PM ET
BOSTON -- It didn’t take long for Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine to pencil catching prospect Ryan Lavarnway into the starting lineup.

Lavarnway, who turns 25 on Tuesday, was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on Wednesday after Boston placed outfielder Daniel Nava (wrist) on the 15-day disabled list.

“I’m excited,” Lavarnway said. “We’ve got to get a win.”

He’ll serve as Jon Lester’s batterymate against the Minnesota Twins Thursday night at Fenway Park.

“I think there’s some comfort level with Lester,” Valentine said. “There’s probably some learning experience but I don’t think it’s monumental.”

Lavarnway made his major league debut in 2011 and played a total of 17 games for the Red Sox. He was the starting catcher for the final two games of the season last September in Baltimore.

“I’m not as intimidated by Fenway Park as I was the first time I stepped in it, I’ll tell you that much,” he said. “I’m just excited to go out there and play.”

He’s spent the entire 2012 season with the PawSox and has made solid improvements in his game.

“I’ve been catching every day and I feel like I’m moving really well to both sides, blocking the ball, receiving the ball and I feel like I’m throwing really well," he said. "My arm strength has improved and the more experienced you are, the better you’re going to play.”

He hit .295 with 22 doubles, eight home runs, 43 RBI, 50 runs scored and 40 walks in 83 games for Pawtucket this season. (For a Fantasy profile of Lararnway, click here -- Insider content.)

Tonight's lineup:
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Carl Crawford, LF
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
5. Cody Ross, DH
6. Ryan Lavarnway, C
7. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
8. Ryan Kalish, RF
9. Pedro Ciriaco, SS

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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