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MOOSIC, Pa. â€“ There are baseball lifers, and then thereâ€™s someone like Gary DiSarcina.
In short, the 45-year-old is a man whoâ€™s worn many hats since retiring 11 years go. Heâ€™s enjoyed successful stints in three totally different realms with all roads leading back to the game that saw him carve out a 12-year major-league career. Thanks to experiencing life as a manager, television analyst and trusted front-office contributor, DiSarcina can speak comfortably on a number of topics.
He also feels that his transition back to the dugout will be a relatively smooth one thanks to the broadness of his post-playing workload.
â€śI learned a lot about the TV side when I was at NESN â€¦ production, behind the scenes, how to speak on the air,â€ť said DiSarcina, who served as a pre- and post-game analyst for the network. â€śBeing removed and seeing the game from the stands and on TV, you see the game and it looks much easier.â€ť
DiSarcina made it a priority to make sure that his involvement in baseball would allow him to maintain a strong family presence. Yet as he went from the TV side to managing in Single-A Lowell (2007-09) to spending last season as a special assistant to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim general manager Jerry DiPoto, DiSarcina saw his stock rise.
When he was named Pawtucketâ€™s field manager last December, it was understood that the ball club was getting someone who could handle the hustle and bustle of Triple A. Such credit goes to his ability to avoid being pigeonholed as strictly a coach who throws batting practice or someone who sits in a boardroom surrounded by baseball brainiacs.â€ť
â€śThere are so many behind-the-scenes facets that go into being a manager. You have to be a people person and be able to go out there and communicate with no agenda to the players,â€ť DiSarcina said. â€śIf the lines of communication with the front office arenâ€™t open, it becomes a very difficult relationship that can splinter an organization. You have to be open-minded and flexible.
â€śAt least in my opinion, you canâ€™t be so stubborn that itâ€™s your way or the highway,â€ť he continued. â€śPlayers arenâ€™t the same as they were 10 years ago. Theyâ€™re different and they go about their business in a different way.â€ť
See DISARCINA, page C6
When DiSarcina piloted the Spinners, his concerns included making sure that the players were clean-shaven and arrived at the ballpark on time. Though heâ€™s in the honeymoon period with the PawSox, it didnâ€™t take him long to realize that heâ€™s the caretaker of a more mature and understanding group of ballplayers.
â€śThese guys [meaning the PawSox players] are so close to the big leagues that the call could come any time,â€ť said DiSarcina. â€śIf someone is hurt or traded and theyâ€™re going about their business correctly and (Red Sox manager) John Farrell calls to ask about someone, Iâ€™m going to be honest and say whether a guy is ready or not.â€ť
DiSarcina acknowledges that by returning to managing, heâ€™s come full circle.
â€śThe first two or three innings (of Thursdayâ€™s season opener against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre) were going by real fast, then youâ€™re able to relax a bit,â€ť he said. â€śI feel like Iâ€™ve been in a classroom for the past five or six years and just learning different aspects of the game. In the dugout is where I feel my best â€“ being around the guys and being honest with them.â€ť
Last April saw the Red Sox designate onetime pitching prospect Michael Bowden for assignment and work out a trade that didnâ€™t come down the pike until a week after he was removed off the 40-man roster.
Itâ€™s quite possible that a similar fate could be in store for Mauro Gomez, the slugging first baseman who one day could be the answer to the trivia question, â€śWhose spot on the 40-man did Jackie Bradley Jr. take?â€ť Reached Friday, the agent for Gomez noted that if the Red Sox are unable to trade his client by Monday, the next step entails being placed on waivers for a 72-hour period.
â€śThey have to start the waiver process by Monday. Whether they do so before Monday is (Bostonâ€™s) option. Itâ€™s their call,â€ť said Steve Schneider, president of Elite Sports Group. â€śIf the trade or passing through waivers doesnâ€™t occur, they have the power to outright him to Pawtucket.â€ť
The winner of the 2012 International League MVP after hitting .310 with 24 home runs for the PawSox, Gomez learned of his fate one day before the Red Sox were slated to open the 2013 season. Since the transaction took place at a time when teams, both at the major- and minor-league level, were applying the finishing touches to the active roster, all involved parties have been forced to sit and patiently wait for something to arise.
In the midst of playing wait-and-see, Gomez has been working out in Pawtucket. Schneider noted that teams from Japan sought permission to talk to the Red Sox about possibly acquiring Gomez before and during spring training. Such overtures were rejected by Boston.
â€śHe hits in the cage and does what he can to keep himself ready to play, but heâ€™s in limbo,â€ť said Schneider. â€śAssuming thereâ€™s a resolution for him in any direction, the better it is. I would think that the sooner the resolution from a Red Sox standpoint, the better it is.â€ť
The PawSox played Fridayâ€™s game shorthanded as neither Alex Hassan or Brock Holt were available. Hassan was a late scratch prior to Thursdayâ€™s game due to a strained calf while Holt fouled a pitch off his ankle. DiSarcina said that both players are considered day-to-day.