Ryan Lavarnway: MLB Vet, Yankees MLB Hopeful
Eight teams and a lengthy minor league tenure since his MLB debut in 2012, Ryan Lavarnway is making yet another push to return the big leagues. On November 7, 2018 The Yankees signed catcher Lavarnway to a minor league contract with a big league invite. The Yankees already have both a starting and backup catcher in the big leagues (Austin Romine & Gary Sanchez) so it was a surprise to many when the 2018 Triple-A all-star decided to sign with the Yankees over the Pirates, who he had been with for the previous season.
“The Yankees seemed interesting and it seemed like a good opportunity so I decided to go with it.” Lavarnway said in an interview following a Yankees minor league spring training game in March 2019. In 2018 Lavarnway hit .288 in Triple-A for the Pirates and was on the big league roster for a couple of weeks during the season, but only saw playing time in 6 games.
Lavarnway played in 97 games with the Red Sox as a backup catcher between 2011 and 2014 but never was an everyday player. With a new team, Lavarnway hopes to have another opportunity to play in the big leagues, and at 31 years of age is still looking to be an everyday player in the big leagues. I talked with Ryan about his expectations for the 2019 season, and he seems to want to develop and learn.
“It’s been great. The coaches have been willing to work with me and try to help me to be the best I can be.”
Obviously, being on an MLB roster in 2019 would be great for Lavarnway.
“I think that all depends on performance, and depends on how everyone’s health is. It’s too early to predict the future like that.”
Lavarnway started 2019 with the Yankees Triple-A affiliate Rail Riders and hit a home run in his second game.