Sunday, March 9, 2014
By Kevin Thomas firstname.lastname@example.org
PAWTUCKET, R. I. - This manager wears a baseball jersey with "Red Sox " across his chest.
But he hears cheers. And he's winning. And no one is talking about taking his job, although a promotion might be in order.
While Bobby Valentine takes the heat, directing the losing Boston Red Sox, Arnie Beyeler has the Pawtucket Red Sox in the Triple-A playoffs.
Beyeler, 48, was the longest-running manager for the Portland Sea Dogs, from 2007-10. His adjustment to Pawtucket has been smooth.
Despite constant player turnover, Beyeler directed the PawSox to their second straight postseason berth -- a first-round series against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees.
"He's done a great job here," said infielder Nate Spears, who has played three straight seasons for Beyeler, first in Portland, then Pawtucket.
"He's got our backs on the field. But if there's something that needs to be said, he says it."
That was Beyeler's modus operandi in Portland.
Players who got along with Beyeler were the ones who worked the hardest. Slack off and Beyeler was there to talk to you.
"He's the same every day. He expects you to come in and play hard," said former Sea Dogs outfielder Alex Hassan, who initially played for Beyeler last year in the Arizona Fall League.
Beyeler may be working his way to Boston's major league staff, whether that team is managed by Valentine, John Farrell, Tim Bogar or (pick your rumor).
For now he's in the minors, where coaches and players are expected to develop.
"You learn every year," Beyeler said.
"After the season gets done, I usually sit down and write things out, what I'd like to do better, like to do less."
With the injured and ineffective team in Boston, more and more players from Pawtucket have been called up -- 23 this year.
Other players have been traded or opted out of their contracts.
Only seven of Beyeler's original 25-man roster is with him now. And Tuesday night's lineup featured five players who began the year in Portland -- catcher Dan Butler, shortstop Jon Hee, outfielders Juan Carlos Linares and Bryce Brentz, and designated hitter Jeremy Hazelbaker.
Three of the next four scheduled starters played with the Sea Dogs this season -- Chris Hernandez, Billy Buckner and Steve Wright. The bullpen includes Josh Fields and Brock Huntzinger.
Others who made the jump from Portland include infielders Ryan Dent and Reynaldo Rodriguez, catcher Matt Spring and outfielder Ronald Bermudez.
Spring and Bermudez thought they were going home after Monday's game at Hadlock Field. But as they took off their Sea Dogs uniforms, they got the call to Pawtucket.
Several of these Sea Dogs were called up late to the PawSox, not only bolstering the roster but giving them a taste of Triple-A ball heading into next year.
Boston made a similar move with Will Middlebrooks last year. He batted .161 in 16 games but appeared to come around this year.
Middlebrooks, of course, vaulted to the majors after 24 games in Pawtucket this season and never looked back.
Several other former PawSox players from this year are with Boston now, including shortstop Jose Iglesias, catcher Ryan Lavarnway, outfielder Ryan Kalish and pitcher Junichi Tazawa.
A lot of talent has left this team and yet it still made the playoffs.
"We have a good group of scouts who have given us quality kids and good players," Beyeler said.
Beyeler, a former scout, passes around the credit.
But as this Boston organization looks to change its losing ways, Beyeler may be the next one to get a big-league call-up.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: