Former Boston Red Sox backup catcher Ryan Lavarnway is apparently still playing baseball. The former sixth-round pick made his 2018 debut on Friday for the Cincinnati Reds and had the best game of his career. The backstop went 3-4 with two home runs, one double, and a walk during his return to the majors in a 12-11 to the St. Louis Cardinals
Ryan Lavarnway Has Career Game in Return to the Majors
If you’re surprised to see Lavarnway still in the majors, you’re not alone. The 31-year-old catcher spent the majority of the season with the New York Yankees Triple-A affiliate before the Reds came calling. After losing Curt Casali and Kyle Farmer to injury, Cincinnati desperately needed a catcher. The Yankees granted Lavarnway’s request for a release so he could start in Friday’s matchup.
Lavarnway has only played in 12 major league games since the start of the 2016 season. He didn’t hit a single home run in that span and only had two from 2014 to 2018. Lavarnway has appeared in 147 career games, posting a .213/.274/.348 slash line to go along with a 66 wRC+. Of those 147 games, 92 came with the Boston Red Sox. During his time behind Jason Varitek and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Lavarnway posted a .201/.249/.315 slash line with a corresponding 49 wRC+. He earned most of his playing time in 2012, posting a .157/.211/.248 slash line and a 19 wRC+ in 166 plate appearances. However, he was actually a decent hitter in 2013, posting a .299/.329/.429 slash line with a 104 wRC+ in 82 plate appearances.
Lavarnway finally has a path to clear playing time, but it’s not with a contender. After a relatively hot start, the Cincinnati Reds have fallen back into their usual ways and find themselves in the basement on the NL Central. With their latest loss, Cincinnati drops to 43-52 and are nine games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs.