ARLINGTON -- Though Ryan Lavarnway hasn't had a chance to catch in a game since being promoted from Triple-A Pawtucket to fill in for the ailing David Ortiz as designated hitter, he is getting plenty of tutorials from instructor Gary Tuck. Lavarnway has also absorbed as much as possible from Boston's catching tandem of Jason Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
In each of the last two days, Lavarnway came back to the clubhouse drenched in sweat about three hours before game-time.
"He's just working every day," said manager Terry Francona. "He's following 'Tek and Salty around in their meetings and trying to use this to his advantage. He's got free work days. That's got to be a good thing. When we were talking about the callups in September, that was one of the things about bringing him -- he'd have a month.
"I think he's supposed to play some winter ball. Working with Tuck before he went was really important, so now we have a free week and he needs to take advantage of it."
With Ortiz set to come back as early as Wednesday, the Red Sox will have a decision to make with Lavarnway: Do they send him back down to Pawtucket so he can play regularly for the rest of the Triple-A season and then return to Boston as a September callup, or does he just stay with the Red Sox?
"That's a good point," Francona said. "We've talked about that actually. I can tell you right now, and nothing against the organization, I would rather us win than [Pawtucket manager] Arnie [Beyeler]. Nothing against Arnie."
Lavarnway started for the sixth straight game at DH on Tuesday. In the first five, he is hitting .294 with two RBIs.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.