Lavarnway makes 2012 debut against Twins

Lavarnway makes 2012 debut against Twins

Lavarnway makes 2012 debut against Twins
BOSTON -- Ryan Lavarnway made his 2012 debut for the Red Sox on Thursday against the Twins, one day after the catcher was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.

"I'm excited, I'm ready to get a win," Lavarnway said before the game.

Lavarnway is arguably the best right-handed hitter in Boston's farm system and the club's No. 3 overall prospect. He appeared in 17 games with the Sox in 2011 after making his Major League debut August 18. Nearly a year later, the catcher said he's much improved.

"I've been catching every day, I feel like I'm moving really well to both sides [of the plate] blocking the ball, I feel like my arm strength has improved," Lavarnway said. "I'm not as intimidated by Fenway Park as I was the first time I stepped in there."

He's caught Thursday starter Jon Lester before, which will make his transition smoother.

"I think there is some comfort level with Lester," said manager Bobby Valentine. "He was catching in Triple-A and we were sending guys every other day he wasn't used to for two months, and guys are coming up from Double-A. There's probably some learning experience, but I don't think it's monumental."

Lavarnway hit .295 with eight homers and 43 RBIs in 83 games with Pawtucket this year.