Operation Tuck

One area fans of the Red Sox don’t see is the work that catching instructor Gary Tuck does with Victor Martinez, Jason Varitek, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kevin Cash in the early to mid-afternoon hours, when the stadium is nearly empty.

Manager Terry Francona talked at length about the work done by Tuck, who is perceived by many to be the most renwowned catching coach in MLB.

“I don’t want to say they never take a day off, but they have a rigid schedule that they follow and I love it,” Francona said. “When I was with the Phillies, we used to go out and play the Diamdonbacks and I don’t know who the catching guy was, but I always saw the catchers do this little drill before the game and I thought that’s really impressive. I like it. It seemed to make sense. They weren’t overdoing it.

“And Tuckster has probably taken that to a whole new level, and I love it. You’ve got to have not only the knowledge and the relelnteless personality to get guys out there every day, but he’s good. He’s really, really good.

Tuck is inventive, to say the least. “He’s got all kinds of gadgets  and I think he tries to make it somewhat fun or interesting or demanding, but he expects a lot out of them. They do whatever they’re asked, whether they’re scared of him or like him. They do it. He’s done a lot. Victor went through a pretty tough time early, they’ve spent a lot of time together. Victor’s done a hell of a job.

Even 38-year-old catcher Jason Varitek has been known to marvel at the work of Tuck.

“They all do,” Francona said. “It’s unbeliavable. Salty, that’s the first thing he said to me when he came over, he goes, ‘I can’t wait.’ His reptuation’s out there. He doesn’t take days off. He’s kind of relenteless with it. “

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