MLB Teams
Scott Lauber, ESPN Staff Writer 346d

Red Sox promote Dana LeVangie from bullpen to pitching coach

MLB, Boston Red Sox

BOSTON -- In 27 years with the Red Sox, Dana LeVangie has been a minor league catcher, a bullpen catcher, a pro scout, a major league advance scout, a catching instructor and a bullpen coach.

One thing he hasn't done: pitch.

But the pitching coach position was still vacant on new manager Alex Cora's staff, so the Red Sox promoted LeVangie into a job that few non-pitchers have held.

"This is something I didn't envision myself doing," LeVangie said Wednesday on a conference call. "But I think my experience throughout the game, experience dealing with the players has grown throughout my time. And I guess more than anything my commitment to the players, my commitment to the pitchers just continues to drive me to be the best."

Dave Duncan is the foremost example of a former catcher who became a successful pitching coach. Coincidentally, Tony La Russa -- the manager with whom Duncan worked in Oakland and St. Louis -- was recently appointed as an adviser to Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.

LeVangie noted the influence of longtime Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek in helping him learn to work with pitchers. With LeVangie's previous job now vacant, Varitek could be a bullpen coach candidate, a choice that would be popular with the fan base.

Several veteran pitching coaches played musical chairs last month, with Carl Willis going from the Red Sox to the Cleveland Indians, Jim Hickey from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Chicago Cubs and Mike Maddux from the Washington Nationals to the St. Louis Cardinals. In addition, the New York Mets let Dan Warthen go and the San Francisco Giants reassigned Dave Righetti to the front office.

Dombrowski said the Red Sox "had interest in a couple" of pitching coaches who went elsewhere, and they were still looking to fill the position when organizational meetings began Monday at Fenway Park.

LeVangie came up as a candidate because of the many roles he has played over the years. While the 48-year-old native of Whitman, Massachusetts, has extensive experience with helping pitchers review scouting reports to put together a game plan, the Red Sox believe he has the expertise to help them figure out mechanical issues in the bullpen, too.

"When everyone started talking about me being a manager, [LeVangie] was a guy I always considered would be part of my staff," Cora said. "He is well-prepared and versatile enough that he can work with catchers and be a pitching coach. I'm very comfortable with Dana being in this role."

Said LeVangie, "I think my truest learning experience stemmed from working as a bullpen catcher with the Red Sox. It allowed me to really lock in on mechanics, movement of the baseball, spin of the baseball, identifying specifics of a pitcher's strengths and weaknesses, and trying to identify what makes a pitcher have success and continued success. I'll continue to learn more as we go forward."

The Red Sox also named former major league infielder Ramon Vazquez as a major league coach in charge of filtering information from the scouting and analytics departments and presenting it to players and coaches. Vazquez is longtime friends with Cora and was even traded to the Indians in the 2005 deal that brought Cora to the Red Sox.

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