PUTTING ON THE HITS

     For the better part of the last month, the PawSox have had a stranglehold on first place in the I.L. North.  That has been due to great pitching, good defense and a terrific offense.  The Sox are at, or near the top of every major offensive category.  Hitting instructor Gerald Perry, a former National League All Star, is a big reason why.  This is Perrys’ third stint as a PawSox coach, most recently, he filled the same role in 2010, along side manager Torey Lovullo.  In 2011, Perry was the hitting instructor for the Oakland A’s.  He and Chili Davis essentially flip-flopped jobs this year.  “Third time, I guess it’s a charm.  I was looking forward to coming back.  It’s like the A’s and the Red Sox made a trade.  Me for Chili Davis.”   

     Perry is pleased with the numbers the PawSox are putting up, but he knows it all stems from one thing.  “The guys are looking for quality at bats.  We try not to look at the offensive numbers.  More so, what I try to look at, is when a guy makes it to the Big Leagues, how he handles Big League pitching.  I feel like my job is to get them prepared for that.”

     He is doing an amazing job in that regard.  Currently, former students like Will Middlebrooks, Daniel Nava, Che-Hsuan Lin and Scott Podsednik are helping Boston get out of an early season funk that finds them in last place in the ultra competitive American League East.  “I’m really not surprised at Wills’ success.  I told Dave Magadan, the big league hitting coach, that if they were getting the same guy that we had here, we’d never be getting him back.  He’s handled himself well, even from day one at Spring Training.  He got off to a good start and everything just carried over.  That’s what you like to see.”  Perry, known as “G”, credits Nava with being a hard worker and a good pupil.  “I looked at his 2011 numbers, and they were not ‘Nava’ numbers.  The Nava that’s up in Boston now is the Nava I saw here two years ago.  He trusts his hands, uses the whole field.  It looks like he got whipped up a little bit last year, but he has his confidence back.  I’m extremely happy for him.”

     Maybe the biggest change in 2012 is the evolution of Jose Iglesias.  The 22 year old shortstop is a defensive wizard, but needed to grow offensively.  He has.  His average has been as high as .280 this week.  He’s got a home run and is in double figures in RBI.  Perry is modest when asked about how he’s helped Jose.  “He’s made some changes.  Using the whole field and taking what the pitchers are giving him.  He’ll shoot the ball to the first base hole with a man on first.  Just doing  all the things you talk about.  He’s playing the game.  That development part wasn’t working at first, even though he was trying hard.  He’s stayed with it and hopefully he’ll continue to stay with it.”  Perry was asked to look into his crystal ball and predict the future for Iglesias.  “I just want to see him continue to work on the things we’ve been working on while he’s here.  Once he gets to the next level, stay within himself.  That’s important, staying within yourself.”

     Ryan Lavarnway blasted 34 home runs in 2011, including 18 with Pawtucket and 2 with Boston.  Through May 25, the slugging catcher had just 2 round trippers for the entire season.  The always-calm Perry insists there’s no need to push the panic button.  ” He could have 6 or 7 home runs right now, if it wasn’t for hitting balls up in the wind early in the year.  Right now we are just concentrating more on him using his legs and not thinking about home runs, just letting it happen.  That’s what happens when you stop thinking about it.  The home runs just come.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: