PAWTUCKET — The time-honored tradition of seeing the manager of the Pawtucket Red Sox receive a “job well done” 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 wasn’t officially confirmed until after Pawtucket’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.
“Those guys did a great job all year in Pawtucket,” wrote Red Sox farm director Ben Crockett in an e-mail. “Part 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.”
For Beyeler, this marks the second straight year and third overall time he’s finished the balance of the season in the majors.
“It’s always fun to go up there and learn from those guys and see what they do,” stated Beyeler after the Governors’ Cup champions were honored at a celebration outside Pawtucket City Hall on Thursday. “It’s almost like spring training where it’s good to be around different people and see how they do things. It’s always good to broaden your horizons.”
Having earned the distinction as being the longest-tenured pitching coach in club history, Sauveur has seen four of the five PawSox pitching staffs he’s shepherded post team ERAs under four. The 3.43 ERA Pawtucket compiled in 2012 marked the third time in Sauveur’s tenure that Pawtucket finished in the top five among International League participants.
“I can’t say enough about the pitchers this year,” praised Sauveur. “They all did a great job and I’m proud of all of them.”
The 49-year-old Sauveur was able to spend three days on then-manager Terry Francona’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.
“It’s very nice to go up there and spend time in the big leagues, but it’s going to be a learning experience,” stressed Sauveur. “My 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.”
What figures to allow Beyeler and Sauveur to make a seamless transition is that both will be setting foot in a Boston clubhouse that’s populated with players that played for Pawtucket at some point this season. All told, 22 of the 31 players presently on the Red Sox’ active roster also suited up for the PawSox.
“It’s not going to be a place where I’ll feel uncomfortable. Knowing the coaching staff and the players, it’s going to be a great feeling,” said Sauveur, who once again will oversee a Winter Ball staff in the Dominican Republic that will include PawSox’ hard-throwing reliever Josh Fields.
Thursday’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.
“In the mayor’s office, we don’t ever have to deal with that much turnover,” 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, “Stay in shape this winter because that team up I-95 is going to need help next year.”
PawSox Team President Mike Tamburro and Beyeler also addressed the crowd with Tamburro dubbing the team’s march toward the franchise’s third-ever Governors’ Cup championship, “an improbable ride.”
Just about all of the players were present with the biggest ovation reserved for veteran pitcher Nelson Figueroa, who won both of Pawtucket’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.