PAWTUCKET – Gary DiSarcina learned a valuable lesson during his first month managing the Pawtucket Red Sox – the importance of individualism.
Naturally, players who are on Boston’s 40-man roster tend to warrant more attention, yet it’s important to remember the rest of the clubhouse inhabitants, too. To DiSarcina, it’s paramount to establish a set of guidelines with each player rather than have everyone fall under the same umbrella.
“You can’t clump them together in one ball and say this is how you treat them. You have to try and touch them,” said DiSarcina. “They’re all individuals and they’re all different. Some guys you motivate just by putting their name in the lineup or by kicking them in the rear end. Sometimes you just listen.
“In my short time, I think the best thing to do is listen,” he added. “These guys aren’t 18 years old. They’ve been through the seasons.”
Providing his charges with a sounding board has served as prime means for DiSarcina to get to know them more intimately. Case in point, the skipper shared that he enjoyed a lengthy conversation with outfield prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. earlier in the week.
“I don’t know Jackie and I haven’t been around him on a daily basis. I’m trying to get to know him and he’ll say that everything is good and all right, but you look at his numbers [he hit .097 in 31 at-bats with Boston] and I know it’s not good,” said DiSarcina. “Talking to him, he’s struggling. His work ethic and relationship with (PawSox hitting coach) Dave Joppie along with being around some of the players will definitely help, but he’s experiencing failure for the first time, the only difference is that his came on the big stage in Boston.
“To experience failure at that level is tough on anyone, but for a young kid who never played Triple A to go straight there … you can get lost in all the noise and get caught up with who you are,” he continued. “All these people are heaping praise on you for the first time and he deserved all of it. He made the team coming out of camp because of his performance.
“It takes time. He’s a young kid who’s never played in Triple A. There is going to be an adjustment period. They knew that he wasn’t handling the inside fastball (in the bigs) so they’re going to pitch him the same here,” he said. “The big thing I talked about with Jackie is to use (the 2013 season) as a learning year. Not everyone gets a chance to do what he’s doing. Learn from it and he’ll benefit 10 years down the road.”
For the players who have already taken a ride on the Pawtucket-to-Boston shuttle and vice versa, DiSarcina feels that a cooling-down period that can last up to a couple of days is the best way to deal with someone who’s been farmed out.
“They just got sent down, so the last thing they want is me in their business and telling them what they need to do,” said DiSarcina. “Some guys come back and it’s full speed ahead. I think in (Jose Iglesias’) case, he’s kind of been trying to muddle through it a little bit. The realization for him has been that he’s not on a rehab assignment down here. He’s here until someone gets hurt or there’s a trade. He’s down here to work on being consistent.”
By understanding that not all players are created equal, DiSarcina can go about the business of governing a Triple-A outfit in a democratic fashion.
“You can’t blanket them because they’ll say, ‘This guy is full of it,’” he said. “You’ve got to get to know them and what makes them tick. You have to listen and let them talk, and I think that’s important.”