SEATTLE — If the season’s final four weeks are a test for rookies Ryan Lavarnway and Jose Iglesias, neither received particularly high marks yesterday.

Lavarnway and Iglesias were in the lineup for a Labor Day matinee at Safeco Field, and both made defensive blunders in the decisive fourth inning of the Red Sox [team stats]’ 4-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners.

With the Sox trailing 2-1, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury [stats] caught Eric Thames’ fly ball and made a throw to the plate that was off-line but still would have prevented John Jaso from scoring from third base. But Lavarnway allowed the ball to squirt by him, Nike Air Max sale and Jaso scored to give the Mariners a 3-1 lead.

“I wish they’d given me that error,” Lavarnway said after the miscue was charged to Ellsbury. “Jacoby is trying to get the guy out. He did exactly what he should have. I played it into an in-between hop. I need to go out and smother that ball and absolutely need to keep it in front of me.”

Lavarnway has been scrutinized for his defense throughout his time in the minors. But he caught a career-high 80 games this season at Triple-A Pawtucket and was ranked as the top defensive catcher in the International League in a Baseball America survey of managers.

“Ryan knows what to do with that ball,” Sox manager Bobby Valentine said.

Two batters later, Iglesias bobbled Carlos Peguero’s grounder while trying to start a double play, allowing Justin Smoak to score from third base.

“He was just being too quick,” Valentine said. “Lost the handle.”

It was an uncharacteristic error for Iglesias, whose defense at shortstop is dazzling. Iglesias’ issues stem from his offensive weakness, and despite a strong August for Pawtucket, he’s 0-for-16 with five strikeouts since being called up nearly 10 days ago.

In the seventh inning, Iglesias was lifted for pinch-hitting Ivan De Jesus Jr., an infielder acquired in the Aug. 25 blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Making his Red Sox debut, De Jesus grounded into a fielder’s choice.

“He’ll get his hits,” Valentine said of Iglesias. “But I didn’t think that (with) the matchup at that time it was going to happen.”

Call my agent

General manager Ben Cherington downplayed an ESPN report that agents for several players have complained to the Red Sox about the way in which Valentine has utilized their clients.

“I have conversations with agents all the time, as you’d expect, and conversations with players,” Cherington said. “Whenever there’s a concern to that degree, what needs to happen is there needs to be a conversation with the player and the manager, and then we work it out to see if there’s any misunderstandings.”

The report didn’t cite any players by name, but Valentine’s recent use of reliever Alfredo Aceves raised eyebrows. In an attempt to stretch out the erstwhile closer’s arm for a possible start, Aceves was allowed to throw 143 pitches in four games over a five-day span last week.

Big Papi on hold

 


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