Celtics

DiSarcina eager for new role with Red Sox

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DiSarcina eager for new role with Red Sox

PAWTUCKET, R.I. Saying he might need to brush off the cobwebs, Gary DiSarcina is resuming his managerial career, taking over the helm of Triple-A Pawtucket, after being out of the dugout and out of the Red Sox organization for the past two seasons.

DiSarcina, who was introduced Friday afternoon during a press conference at McCoy Stadium, had been with the Angels the past two seasons, after being in the Sox organization the previous five years.

He joined the Sox in November 2006, when he was named a baseball operations consultant, From 2007-09 he managed Low-A Lowell, where he compiled a record of 125-99 and led the Spinners to Stedler Division titles in 2008 and 2009. In 2010 he was the Sox minor league infield coordinator. He was also on the coaching staff for Team Italy for the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

In November 2010, DiSarcina left the Sox to join the Angels, the team for which he played his entire 12-season big league career. He was the Angels minor-league field coordinator last season before being named special assistant to the general manager in October, a position he also held in 2011.

Were obviously very familiar with Gary from his past experience with us, said Ben Crockett, Sox director of player development. He brings a wealth of knowledge from a long playing career. He served as an excellent manager and coordinator for us. He went on to some bigger experience with the Angels, working with the big league club as well as overseeing the farm system. So I think he comes back to us with a lot of experience thats going to serve this Pawtucket club well. Were really excited to have Gary back in the system.

General manager Ben Cherington said the organization was looking for a way to get DiSarcina back since he left. The Sox met with DiSarcina about the job during the winter meetings in Nashville last week.

Hes a guy we have a lot of respect for, Cherington said. It was hard for him because I think hes got loyalty to both organizations. He was a player in the Angels organization. Hes got loyalty to that organization. I think hes loyal to the Red Sox, too, because this is where he started his post-playing career, and obviously a guy thats from around here.

I think we were looking for someone to go to Triple-A who understood our core philosophy, understood what its like to be in Boston, to play in Boston, what preparing players to play in Boston is all about, someone we trusted and someone weve worked with in the past. So, we looked at a number of candidates but we felt like if we could get him back, he would be the right guy. And were fortunate that we could do that.

After filling in for the Angels Double-A manager for four games this season, he realized he wanted to eventually get back into the dugout. But, he said, he wouldnt have left the Angels for any other organization besides the Sox. The Billerica native, who now lives on the South Shore, has two kids, the youngest a freshman in high school.

While he is familiar with the organization from his previous tenure, he knows his new job will have its specific challenges, along with those a manager at any level faces.

Probably just knocking the cobwebs off a little bit. I think spring training will be great for that, he said. A big adjustment will be talking to the front office more. Talking to Sox manager John Farrell and bench coach Torey Lovullo when they call down more, just getting a little more adjusted to talking to the front office people, because when youre in Lowell your days are pretty much set out, you know who youre pitching, you know how its going, you dont talk to the front office as much at that lower level. Just to be more interactive with those guys.

DiSarcina, 45, ended his playing career in 2002 appearing in 35 games with the PawSox.

DiSarcina is replacing Arnie Beyeler who was promoted to first base coach for the major league team. DiSarcina cited Beyeler for helping him when he began managing in Lowell.

Arnie helped me out tremendously when I first went up to manage Lowell, DiSarcina said. I basically went up to Portland where Beyeler was managing the Double-A team at the time and shadowed him for four or five days. He was a tremendous help.

DiSarcina, who said he ultimately would like to manage at the big league level, learned a major lesson from his time in Lowell.

That I could do it. That was probably the most important thing that I learned, that first day I managed my first game I was nervous as hell, I walked in the dugout and I was nervous, the nerves went away right after that first pitch was gone. I dont care how many years you played in the big leagues, how many years you played in the minor leagues that first managing gig youre nervous. The game speeds up on you really quick. It took me a week or two just to settle down and get into a routine. But just that I could do it.

Celtics-Hawks preview: C' defense looks to keep up historic pace

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Celtics-Hawks preview: C' defense looks to keep up historic pace

As the wins continue to pile up for the Boston Celtics, so does the praise and adulation from others throughout the league. 

It’s a double-edged sword if you think about it. 

Acknowledging how good the Celtics are, is indeed a sign of respect. 

But it also means Boston plays every game with a large target on its back unlike any of Brad Stevens’ previous Celtics teams. 

And that means every game they play, even those like tonight’s matchup at Atlanta where they will be heavily favored, are dangerous matchups.

Because for some teams, the next best thing to competing against the champ (Golden State) is facing the team with the best record who just knocked off the champ. 

That will be one of the dynamics at work tonight when the Celtics (14-2) kick off a three-game road trip against a trio of sub-.500 teams beginning with the Hawks (3-12).

Boston has shown tremendous focus and attention to detail during their 14-game winning streak. But in that span, the Celtics have never had a trio of teams right behind each other that struggled as much as the Hawks, the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks have this season. 

Not including games played on Friday, Boston’s next three opponents are a combined 11-33. 

All three of those teams would love to be the one to knock off the Celtics, the kind of victory that could significantly shift the direction of their respective franchises from their current downward spin. 

Meanwhile, the Celtics will look to continue to play with the kind of defensive temperament that has catapulted them to the top of the NBA’s defensive standings in several categories. 

“The way they’re beating teams it ain’t pretty,” a league executive texted NBC Sports Boston. “But they win. Last I checked, that’s what matters most.”

And that success has to a large degree, put a bigger bullseye on the Celtics than ever. 

“Now that we have a reputation, I think everyone is coming for us,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Now we have to come play even harder, and I think we can do that. I think we are more than capable.”

Especially if they continue to defend at a level we haven’t seen in years. 

Boston has a league-best defensive rating of 95.4. A key component in Boston’s strong play defensively has been their ability to win the battle of the boards. They come into tonight’s game with a .530 rebounding percentage which is second in the league to Portland (.539).

And that defense, while praised for how it functions collectively, it also consists of some pretty good individual defenders as well. 

Among guards averaging at least 20 minutes per game, Boston has four players ranked among the top 10 in defensive rating (Marcus Smart, 93.5 defensive rating, 2nd); Jaylen Brown (93.6, 3rd); Terry Rozier (95.0, 5th) and Kyrie Irving (96.4, 8th). 

When you look at forwards, Brown headlines a trio of forwards that includes himself, Al Horford (94.2, 3rd) and Jayson Tatum (96.1, 7th). 

Aron Baynes has the best defensive rating (90.6) among centers, followed by Horford (94.2).

“Our guys are locked in and really trying and again we can really play some pretty ugly basketball at times,” Stevens said. “But I do think that we are competing which is really good.”