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PAWTUCKET â€“ Validation in the form of a job well done was bestowed upon Gary DiSarcina Thursday, as the former Pawtucket Red Sox manager was named Baseball Americaâ€™s 2013 Minor-League Manager of the Year.
In his first and only season at the helm, DiSarcina guided the International League North division title with an 80-63 record. The PawSox accomplished that while employing the services of 64 different players during the regular-season (30 position players and 34 pitchers).
Pawtucket also promoted 23 different players to Boston during the course of the year (not including 10 others who were recalled from an injury rehab assignment with the PawSox).
â€śI did some research before I took the job and asked a lot of questions. (Boston assistant general manager) Mike Hazen and (director of player development) Ben Crockett did a good job in preparing me, but itâ€™s one thing to hear it. Itâ€™s another thing to experience it,â€ť said DiSarcina recently. â€śThe season was everything that they had talked about â€“ the rehabbers and the minor-league free agents who still think they can be in the big leagues and the prospects.
â€śOne thing I tried to do each day was to be consistent with who I was and keep the playerâ€™s best interests in mind, which was to get them to Fenway Park,â€ť DiSarcina continued. â€śI canâ€™t take all the credit as (Pawtucket pitching coach) Rich Sauveur and (hitting coach) Dave Joppie did a great job as well. I benefitted from being in such a great organization. My job was not to drive the car off the road.â€ť
Besides orchestrating an impressive turnaround â€“ the PawSox captured 19 of their final 23 games after dropping 19 of 28 games in July â€“ DiSarcina played a crucial role in the mentoring and development of three players in particular. Though their circumstances were completely different, Jose Iglesias, Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts all parlayed the messages and pep talks they received from DiSarcina into playing time in the postseason.
â€śThe most fulfilling days of my player development career came while watching the World Series and the ALCS against Detroit. You had Iglesias at short, Middlebrooks at third, Bogaerts at short and (Brandon) Workman on the mound,â€ť said DiSarcina, coming across very much like a proud papa. â€śYou send up players who go on to perform in the World Series. That means more than anything.â€ť
In early November, the 46-year-old DiSarcina was hired by the Los Angeles Angels as their third base coach for the 2014 season. DiSarcina spent his entire 12-year major league playing career with the Angels (1989-2000) and was an American League All-Star in 1995.