NEW YORK -- Known as an offensive-minded catcher, Ryan Lavarnway has actually fared better defensively since being promoted by the Red Sox from Triple-A Pawtucket.
Heading into Monday night's game against the Yankees, in which Lavarnway was in the lineup as the designated hitter, he was hitting .170 with two homers and 12 RBIs.
"Well, he's working every day," said manager Bobby Valentine. "I saw him in Spring Training, and he hit OK, but they said that wasn't quite his swing, so I've been waiting. I'm a little surprised he hasn't hit better. I want him to feel good somehow before the season ends about his approach at the plate."
Despite the struggles Lavarnway has had, Valentine remains a believer.
"I haven't drawn the picture of what kind of hitter he can be, so I don't want to put it in the wrong box," said Valentine. "I think he's going to be a Major League hitter and a Major League player."
"I think he needs work, but from what I gather, he's improved an awful lot," Valentine said.
Pedroia has fractured finger but will play
NEW YORK -- Dustin Pedroia has not taken his final swing of 2012. The Red Sox second baseman was written into the lineup for Tuesday's game against the Yankees, one day after an X-ray on his left ring finger revealed an avulsion fracture.
General manager Ben Cherington said Monday that the injury should "heal on its own and activity to tolerance."
Pedroia suffered the injury while getting caught stealing on Sunday in Baltimore. He didn't play on Monday. He was down to bat second and play second base on Tuesday.
"He couldn't swing before the game," manager Bobby Valentine said Monday. "We'll see how he is tomorrow. No one goes to the post like Dustin. If he's able to play, I bet he'll be in there tomorrow."
Though Pedroia was on the disabled list from July 4-18 with a right thumb injury, he has been one of the few Boston players to be a mainstay in the lineup for the majority of the season.
In 139 games, Pedroia is hitting .288 with 15 homers, 64 RBIs and a .344 on-base percentage. He has stolen 19 bases in 25 attempts while playing consistently excellent defense.
The Red Sox were also without Jacoby Ellsbury, who was getting a rest, in Monday's 10-2 loss to the Yankees. Ellsbury had been out for six games with an undisclosed injury before returning on Saturday and Sunday.
Hand healing, Sweeney expects normal offseason
NEW YORK -- Though a fractured bone in his left hand ended Ryan Sweeney's season on July 30, the outfielder expects to have a normal offseason, one that will have him ready to go by the start of Spring Training.
"I'm slowly working back into it. I'm just playing catch and stuff right now," said Sweeney. "I'm right where I need to be to start my workouts for the offseason. It's just that last stuff that needs to heal. I'm OK, but I'm still sore in the knuckle where they had to drill the screw in. I've been grabbing a bat, and it feels OK doing that."
In fact, Sweeney plans on hitting even earlier this winter than he usually does, probably taking his first swings at some point in late November.
For a while, Sweeney dwelled on the self-destructive nature of his injury. It happened when he punched a door following a bad at-bat, but he knows that negative thoughts aren't going to help his recovery.
"It's tough," Sweeney said. "Nobody wants to sit. It's unfortunate what happened. It's just something I've kind of put behind me and I'm just trying to get healthy for next year. It's been a tough couple of months for the team and the injury side of things, having a lot guys have to be shut down for the year."