THE PITCH FROM RICH
Rich Sauveur is wrapping up his third season as pitching coach for the PawSox. The 46 year old lefty spent parts of seven seasons in the Majors before retiring in 2000. In all, Sauveur played for 18 years. Since then, he has coached in the Brewers’ organization in Beloit (A) and Huntsville (AA). Sauveur joined this organization prior to the 2008 campaign. As we wrap up our last long road trip of the season, Rich admits the record hasn’t been great, but there have been some victories. “We’ve had a good season, trying to help in Boston. They’ve had a lot of injuries up there. We’ve had guys go up there and fill in and do a very respectable job.”
Most fans will recall the heroics of Darnell McDonald or Daniel Nava or Ryan Kalish when thinking back on this season. Pitchers have also contrinbuted to the success of the Red Sox. “Felix Doubront going from a starter to the bullpen, I know is harder than doing it the other way around. Felix has done a nice job. He just has to learn how to get into a routine and prepare as a reliever. He’ll learn that and be fine. Whether it’s as a starter or coming out of the bullpen, they are still realizing a dream, pitching for the Boston Red Sox.”
We have come to accept that the primary function of the PawSox is to develop players that are ready to help the parent club at a moments’ notice. Sauveur says the I.L.’s reigning pitcher of the week has made great strides. “Ramon Ramirez has done a great job for us. He started out struggling a little bit. His fastball command was not there. We did some work with him early in the season, we’ve put him in the rotation and he’s done a fabulous job.”
Sauveur describes himself as a baseball lifer. He’s spent his entire adult life in the game and he says he “loves” the game as much as ever. “My father taught me the game when I was 7 or 8 years old. 38 years later, I’m still in it. I come to the ballpark every day and the 30 guys that are here every day are my family during the season. To go out on the field and play a game and now coach a game for a living is a fantastic feeling.”
While a lot of guys look forward to winding down after the season, Sauveur is already looking forward to his next assignment. “This winter I’ll be heading to the Dominican Republic to coach in Santiago. They’re historically one of the strongest teams there, but had a tough season last year and let go their entire coaching staff. (Former ML catcher and current Yankees coach) Tony Pena will be the manager and I’ll be the pitching coach. We’ll be looking to take a few of our guys down there and we’ll see what happens.” Sauveur added that it was too early in the process to name names, but he wanted to bring a couple of starters and a couple of relievers with him.
Sauveur is a holdover from the Ron Johnson era in Pawtucket, joining first year manager Torey Lovullo on his staff. Sauveur says the two men are a lot alike. “They are both fantastic guys, no question. I think Torey is a little bit more low key in his approach. R.J. is rambunctious and raring to go all the time. He’s such a positive guy, he can turn anything into a rose. Torey’s done a great job too. Going back to the injury situation in Boston, we’ve sent guys up there left and right. Torey has done a fantistic job keeping these guys together.”