JUPITER, Fla. -- Though Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine won't keep three catchers on the team when Opening Day comes around, it's not because of a lack of offensive production from Ryan Lavarnway.
Lavarnway knows it's "not my decision to make. I'm just trying to prepare myself to play the best I can."
The 24-year-old's calling card has been his hitting as he developed as a player. This spring, he is 10-for-25 (.400) with four runs scored and three RBIs, but he's also focused on creating a rapport with the pitching staff.
"For me, it's just about earning everybody's trust and proving I can be reliable day in and day out and that these guys can lean on me when they need to," Lavarnway said. "That I'm going to be there to support them and help these pitchers be the best I can be."
Lavarnway has made sure to get advice from veteran catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach. The two have seen their fair share of American League pitching and hitting over the years.
"Just be the same guy every day and know yourself as a player, and once you know yourself, be yourself," Lavarnway said.
Valentine: Shortstop race being over-hyped
JUPITER, Fla. -- It's still a two-player race for starting shortstop on Opening Day, but manager Bobby Valentine believes too much is made out of whose name is on the Red Sox's lineup card to open the season.
"Absolutely. It's all ridiculous," Valentine said of the daily question surrounding who will man the position for the Red Sox on April 5 in Detroit.
What is the key for Valentine?
"It's all about how the team feels about their member, so that they're secure that the person who is playing the position feels confident that the person is a championship-caliber player," Valentine said.
Just as Valentine feels he has two good options in Jose Iglesias and Mike Aviles, bench coach Tim Bogar shares that thought.
Bogar, who stayed back in Fort Myers to manage the other split-squad game against the Phillies, worked closely with both players in past years in his previous role as infield instructor.
"Well, Mike, when he came over here last year, we worked on a lot of things," Bogar said. "A lot of it was just getting used to playing the position again. He had told me that he had played a lot in Kansas City when he had gone back to Triple-A, so when he got over here, there was some mechanical things he needed to clean up with his feet and his throwing."
Bogar feels Aviles has made a fairly seamless adjustment to returning to life as an everyday shortstop.
"He improved a lot by the end of last year, so this spring, when he came in, I think his attitude -- because of [Marco] Scutaro getting traded and all that -- toward the position has been great," said Bogar. "He's been working extremely hard at it, very open to suggestions. What I've seen of him has been nothing but positive. He's made all the plays. He knows where he's supposed to be. I think he's comfortable with Dustin [Pedroia] at second base, and I think the pitchers are comfortable having him play there."
As far as Iglesias goes, Bogar has seen him progress each spring since defecting from Cuba in September 2009.
"I think he's more mature. I think that's going to continue to improve," Bogar said. "I think once he's around this atmosphere and these players and he starts to learn players and pitchers and understands how they're going to attack certain hitters, it's going to help him in his positioning. It's going to help him take that defensive flash you see and make it become simpler, because he's going to be playing in the right spots all the time.
"He's going to be more confident in that and knowing where he should be. I've seen with him, his confidence level is completely different this year than it was last year -- both sides of the ball. I think defensively he's always felt like he belongs here. Offensively, this spring, up to this point, he believes he belongs here offensively, and that's something I hadn't seen for the last two years."
Aceves shakes off rough outing against Marlins
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After Alfredo Aceves finished his worst outing of Spring Training in the Red Sox's 10-5 loss to the Marlins, he made a strong point about to evaluating whether he should make the starting rotation.
Would it really be fair to judge Aceves based on one bad day, when he has had such a strong run of success dating back to last season?
The righty was pounded by the Phillies for 10 hits and nine runs over just three innings.
How abnormal was this? It marked the first time Aceves had given up more than two runs in any outing since July 19. Aceves hadn't allowed more than three runs since June 21.
"It's one bad game and I'm moving on from that," Aceves said. "I don't remember [my last bad game]. Since when did I have the last bad outing?"
The thing that betrayed Aceves on Saturday was his command. He was decidedly up in the strike zone, and the Phillies made him pay.
"It just looked like he was out of sorts from the get-go," said bench coach Tim Bogar, who served as Boston's manager while skipper Bobby Valentine was with another squad in Jupiter. "He couldn't control his pitches, and when he did, he left it right over the middle of the plate and they didn't miss any of them. He just seemed out of whack today. He just didn't seem like himself. We haven't seen that since last August. One hiccup -- he's fine."
Aceves realizes he's in a fight for a rotation spot, but knows he'll be a key part of the pitching staff regardless of the role.
"Of course, every single day is important," Aceves said. "Right now, we're almost at the end of Spring Training."
Aceves says he is by no means obsessing about his role.
"I mean, for me, I'm not thinking about that," Aceves said. "I'm taking it day by day."
Aceves joins Felix Doubront, Daniel Bard and Aaron Cook as the four pitchers fighting for the final two rotation spots.
When asked about his interview process with the Marlins, manager Bobby Valentine said, "I talked to some of the people involved more than once."
Whether he thought talks advanced further than he expected, he said: "What do you think I thought? Then I'd had to tell you what I thought."
Saturday's game vs. the Marlins was the first time the Red Sox and Marlins faced each other since March 12, when Miami manager Ozzie Guillen was ejected during the sixth inning for arguing a fair and foul call. Valentine waved good-bye as Guillen make the long walk at JetBlue Park to the visiting clubhouse, and Guillen didn't take kindly to the gesture.
Red Sox outfielder Cody Ross made his return to Jupiter. Ross, who spent five seasons with the Marlins, played Spring Training in Arizona for two years as a member of the Giants.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Christina De Nicola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.