The situation: A perfect storm of a struggling Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a banged-up Kelly Shoppach and David Ortiz being placed on the disabled list has created another opportunity for Ryan Lavarnway, who went 9-for-39 (.231) in his big league debut last year that included a memorable two-homer game against Baltimore. He'll make his season debut Thursday night behind the plate.
Background: A sixth-round pick in the 2008 draft out of Yale, Lavarnway has been a consistent offensive performer, with a career minor league batting line of .294/.376/.506. His breakout occurred last year, when he posted a .290/.376/.563 line across two minor league levels, including 32 home runs in 116 games. He started slowly out of the gate this year but got his numbers back in line by hitting .405 in June, although he was mired in a 2-for-18 slump at the time of his promotion.