BOSTON -- Ryan Lavarnway, who is arguably the best right-handed hitter in Boston's farm system and its No. 3 overall prospect
, strolled into the clubhouse unexpectedly a few hours before Wednesday's Red Sox-Tigers game.
The catcher's latest promotion to the Majors could be short, as Lavarnway is here to fill out the bench at a time when several players are nicked up.
Lavarnway is taking the roster spot of outfielder Daniel Nava, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left wrist sprain.
With catcher Kelly Shoppach (shin) and shortstop Mike Aviles (turf toe) both unavailable for Wednesday's game, that also created a need for Lavarnway's right-handed bat.
"It's great to be back. It doesn't matter what the situation [is]," said Lavarnway. "[Manager Bobby Valentine] said we'll figure out what the plan is tomorrow. I don't know anything more than you do at this point."
Lavarnway could well be the catcher of the future in Boston, so the Red Sox have obviously kept close tabs on him throughout his Triple-A season.
"I loved him in Spring Training, and since [then], he's continued to make improvements," said Valentine. "Offensively, [Pawtucket manager] Arnie [Beyeler] says he's definitely ready and will continue to improve, and we hope he continues to improve. Defensively is the same -- that he's ready, but we want him to continue to improve."
It remains to be seen if Lavarnway will get a chance to catch during this stint in Boston. He caught the final two games of the 2011 season for the Sox, coming up with two big homers and playing solid defense.
"This [season] has been my first opportunity to catch on an everyday basis. I've got to tell you -- it's a lot different than [being the designated hitter] half the time," Lavarnway said. "It's more of a physical grind. I think I've already caught 20 more games than I've ever caught in a year. But I've got a great postgame routine. I'm staying in shape a lot better this year, working on my flexibility and my body feels great."