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PAWTUCKET â€” The time-honored tradition of seeing the manager of the Pawtucket Red Sox receive a â€śjob well doneâ€ť seal of approval in the form of a September promotion to Boston remains alive and well. The only difference is that this time, skipper Arnie Beyeler will be joined by a valued member of his coaching staff.
In a move that was first discussed by Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine last week and wasnâ€™t officially confirmed until after Pawtucketâ€™s loss Tuesday in the Triple-A National Championship, Beyeler and PawSox pitching coach Rich Sauveur will head to Fenway Park Friday to serve as additional eyes and ears on the major-league staff.
â€śThose guys did a great job all year in Pawtucket,â€ť wrote Red Sox farm director Ben Crockett in an e-mail. â€śPart of going up there is definitely a benefit for them, but also they will help handling the larger September roster and be contributing members of the staff for the remaining two weeks.â€ť
For Beyeler, this marks the second straight year and third overall time heâ€™s finished the balance of the season in the majors.
â€śItâ€™s always fun to go up there and learn from those guys and see what they do,â€ť stated Beyeler after the Governorsâ€™ Cup champions were honored at a celebration outside Pawtucket City Hall on Thursday. â€śItâ€™s almost like spring training where itâ€™s good to be around different people and see how they do things. Itâ€™s always good to broaden your horizons.â€ť
Having earned the distinction as being the longest-tenured pitching coach in club history, Sauveur has seen four of the five PawSox pitching staffs heâ€™s shepherded post team ERAs under four. The 3.43 ERA Pawtucket compiled in 2012 marked the third time in Sauveurâ€™s tenure that Pawtucket finished in the top five among International League participants.
â€śI canâ€™t say enough about the pitchers this year,â€ť praised Sauveur. â€śThey all did a great job and Iâ€™m proud of all of them.â€ť
The 49-year-old Sauveur was able to spend three days on then-manager Terry Franconaâ€™s staff last September. Looking ahead, Sauveur is eager to team up with current Red Sox pitching coach Randy Niemann and get up-close to what exactly is required to oversee a major-league staff day-in and day-out.
â€śItâ€™s very nice to go up there and spend time in the big leagues, but itâ€™s going to be a learning experience,â€ť stressed Sauveur. â€śMy goal is to someday be a pitching coach in the big leagues and I think this will be a learning tool to help me out.â€ť
What figures to allow Beyeler and Sauveur to make a seamless transition is that both will be setting foot in a Boston clubhouse thatâ€™s populated with players that played for Pawtucket at some point this season. All told, 22 of the 31 players presently on the Red Soxâ€™ active roster also suited up for the PawSox.
â€śItâ€™s not going to be a place where Iâ€™ll feel uncomfortable. Knowing the coaching staff and the players, itâ€™s going to be a great feeling,â€ť said Sauveur, who once again will oversee a Winter Ball staff in the Dominican Republic that will include PawSoxâ€™ hard-throwing reliever Josh Fields.
Thursdayâ€™s celebration attracted a couple hundred supporters and featured speeches from political dignitaries Gov. Lincoln Chafee and Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien, who sported a PawSox cap. Madeleine Mondor, wife of late PawSox owner Ben Mondor, also took in the festivities.
â€śIn the mayorâ€™s office, we donâ€™t ever have to deal with that much turnover,â€ť grinned Grebien, referencing the 69 players that suited up for the PawSox this season.
As he wrapped up his remarks, Chafee turned around and, looking at the players, said, â€śStay in shape this winter because that team up I-95 is going to need help next year.â€ť
PawSox Team President Mike Tamburro and Beyeler also addressed the crowd with Tamburro dubbing the teamâ€™s march toward the franchiseâ€™s third-ever Governorsâ€™ Cup championship, â€śan improbable ride.â€ť
Just about all of the players were present with the biggest ovation reserved for veteran pitcher Nelson Figueroa, who won both of Pawtucketâ€™s series-clinching games during the I.L. playoffs. The ceremony also featured the unveiling of a PawSox logo painted on the street of Roosevelt Avenue, that done by local street painter Alfonso Acevedo.