Lavarnway went 1-for-3 with two RBI in Team Israel's 8-3 loss to Japan in the World Baseball Classic on Wednesday.
Lavarnway's two-run double in the ninth inning helped the final score look more respectable, but Japan was already in control after breaking a scoreless tie with a five-run fifth inning. With Israel now eliminated from the tournament, Lavarnway will report back to the Athletics in the coming days as he looks to continue his bid for an Opening Day roster spot. It's more likely that he opens the campaign at Triple-A Nashville, however.
Lavarnway, who agreed to a minor league contract with the A's on Nov. 30, is looking to make an impact in both the World Baseball Classic and with the A's this spring, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The veteran will depart A's camp on Feb. 27 to play for Team Israel in Seoul, South Korea, and will be busy before and after the tournament trying to make his mark on his new team. The former Red Sox prospect, who was a sixth-round pick in 2008 out of Yale, has hit only .198 over 134 major league games in stints with Boston, the Orioles and Braves. However, Oakland is reportedly impressed with his ability to handle pitchers, and he also comes to the Bay Area on the recommendation of former A's and current Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis, who was familiar with Lavarnway from his time in the Boston organization. Manager Bob Melvin has described Lavarnway as a possible "late bloomer" from his observations thus far, and he could certainly carve a out a spot for himself on the major league roster considering the club's relative dearth of right-handed backstop depth behind Josh Phegley. "It seemed like there would be an opportunity here," he said, "and that's all I can ask for at this point in my career - for someone to believe in me and give me a chance to play up to my potential."
Lavarnway agreed to a minor league contract with the A's on Wednesday that includes an invite to spring training, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports.
The 29-year-old will get to make his case for a roster spot in camp, but Lavarnway will likely end up serving as minor league depth in 2017, as he did this past season for the Blue Jays and Braves. He's hit just .198/.258/.316 in parts of five seasons in the majors (407 plate appearances).
The veteran catcher was most recently with the Braves organization before being released on May 14. He was slashing .276/.336/.357 at Triple-A Gwinnett prior to his release this spring. He adds some organizational depth at catcher, but unless Russell Martin or Josh Thole get hurt, he's unlikely to be a major league option for the Blue Jays in the near future. Lavarnway has been assigned to Double-A New Hampshire.
Once a top catching prospect in the Red Sox system, Lavarnway has now washed out of his second organization. He was hitting .276/.336/.357 at Triple-A Gwinnett prior to his release.
|10/4/2015 vs St. Louis|
|vs St. Louis||4||1||0||.250||.500||.250|
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|Minor League Batting Stats|
|2010||AA-Portland Sea Dogs||44||158||25||45||9||0||8||39||26||42||0||0||.395||.494||.285|
|2010||AFA-Salem Red Sox||82||304||66||88||18||0||14||63||44||62||1||0||.392||.487||.289|
|2011||AA-Portland Sea Dogs||55||208||35||59||5||0||14||38||25||47||0||0||.360||.510||.284|
|2011||AAA-Pawtucket Red Sox||61||227||40||67||18||0||18||55||32||60||1||1||.390||.612||.295|
|2012||AAA-Pawtucket Red Sox||83||319||52||94||22||0||8||43||40||62||1||0||.376||.439||.295|
|2013||AAA-Pawtucket Red Sox||50||180||23||45||9||0||3||24||25||25||0||0||.346||.350||.250|
|2014||R-GCL Red Sox||2||5||1||2||1||0||0||2||1||1||0||0||.500||.600||.400|
|2014||AA-Portland Sea Dogs||3||11||2||3||0||0||1||2||1||1||0||0||.333||.545||.273|
|2014||AAA-Pawtucket Red Sox||62||219||22||62||10||0||3||20||33||45||0||0||.389||.370||.283|