NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Boston Red Sox promoted former Yale catcher Ryan Lavarnway '09 to their Double-A affiliate, Portland, on Thursday. Lavarnway, now two steps away from the major leagues, is one of several Bulldogs enjoying successful seasons in pro baseball this summer. Left-hander Craig Breslow '02 is in his fifth season in the big leagues and has 41 strikeouts in 40.2 innings for the Oakland A's. Right-hander Brian Irving '08 has cracked the starting rotation for Augusta, Single-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Right-hander Brandon Josselyn '09 has 11 saves for Clinton, Single-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. And first baseman Trygg Larsson-Danforth '10 is second on his team with a .372 on-base percentage for the Red Sox' rookie-level Gulf Coast League affiliate in Fort Myers, Fla.
Lavarnway's promotion to Double-A comes after he hit 14 homeruns in 82 games for Salem, the Red Sox' Single-A Carolina League affiliate, and earned a spot on the all-star team. That homerun total has him tied for first in the league; he is also leading the league in RBI (63). His .392 on-base percentage is second in the league and his .487 slugging percentage is fifth. Lavarnway is in his third professional season after being picked in the sixth round of the 2008 draft. At Yale, he set the Ivy League record for career homeruns with 33 in three seasons.
"This is a big move for Ryan and, I think, well-deserved," said John Stuper, Yale's Mazzuto Family Head Coach for Baseball, who pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds from 1982 to 1985. "The other guys, Irv, Joss and Trygg, are all also having big summers and their pro careers are definitely headed in the right direction. Craig continues to establish himself as one of the premier left-handed relievers in all of baseball. His appearance total in the last two years is pretty amazing."
Breslow, a lefty specialist out of the Oakland bullpen, is tied for eighth in the major leagues with 43 appearances. Last year, he split the season between Minnesota and Oakland and finished second in the American League with 77 appearances while posting a 3.36 ERA. The former Yale captain has a 3.32 ERA this season, and left-handed batters are hitting just .222 against him. Breslow led the Ivy League with a 2.56 ERA as a senior and was drafted in the 26th round by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2002.
Irving, in his third pro season after being drafted by the Giants in the 17th round of the 2008 draft, has a 5-2 record with 47 strikeouts in 59.2 innings. He has made 18 appearances in relief, but his last three appearances have all been starts -- including a start last Saturday against Kannapolis in which he went 7.1 innings, allowed just two earned runs and had no walks.
Josselyn is tied for eighth in the Midwest League in saves with 11, and has 36 strikeouts in 34.2 innings with just 11 walks. He has yet to allow a homerun in his pro career, and only six other pitchers in the Midwest League have pitched as many innings as he has this year without giving up a longball. Josselyn was a 25th-round pick by the Mariners in 2009, the year he was named Ivy League Pitcher of the Year.
Larsson-Danforth, who won the G.H. Walker, Jr. Award as Yale's most valuable player the past two seasons, was a 49th-round pick by the Red Sox. He singled in his first pro game, and has reached base in eight of the 11 games he has played. He is tied for the team lead with nine walks.
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Report by Sam Rubin '95 (email@example.com), Yale Sports Publicity