Results tagged ‘ Gary Tuck ’

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. “

Learning more about Victor

Though, in a way, it feels like Victor Martinez has been here all year, we continue to learn new things about him.

In the first game of today’s doubleheader, we learned that he can block the plate like, well, Jason Varitek.

It was the seventh inning and the Rays looked poised to take the lead when Dustin Pedroia ranged up the middle, but his hurried throw sailed wide right on Casey Kotchman. The tying run scored from third and Gabe Gross had visions of scoring from second. But Kotchman recovered the ball quickly and fired a strike to Martinez, who then blocked Gross’s path just in time by sticking his leg out, and he swiftly tagged him out. Great play as you can see right here in the video.

Catching instructor Gary Tuck was proud to see it, just like he was two weeks ago when Varitek made perhaps even a better block of home to prevent a run against the Blue Jays.

“He’s one of the best in the game [at blocking the plate],” said Red Sox catching instructor Gary Tuck. “Overall
blocking the plate, he’s very good at it. His timing is good, he takes
some chances, but he just let a runner slide straight into the plate
and steered him right off. He’s a big kid, too. That’s a hell of a play. You don’t see that much.
You see sweep tags now and bail outs. You don’t see men sticking their
legs out there. He’s sacrificing himself for the team.”


“Him and Tek a few games ago. You can go a year and a half without seeing two
plays like that and they did it within a week. That’s special.”

The play that Varitek made was on Aug. 28, so it actually wasn’t quite within a week, but Tuck’s point is still well taken

“It was a play at the plate. Casey made a good play. Good reaction, good read, gave me a good throw that I could handle it and make the play,” Martinez said.  “I always use my legs a lot to block the plate.”