With September call-ups starting, teams first look to bring up guys who can help a big league team. Of course eventually they will bring up more and more guys, but at first they only summon a few. Arguably the most important call-up, and usually the first one to get the call, is an extra catcher (although this year Boston opted for knuckleballer Steven Wright as their first call-up).
As far as catchers went, Dan Butler was the Red Sox first choice. On Tuesday, he was recalled from AAA Pawtucket.
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Dan Butler is a name synonymous with hard work. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2009 after a hot campaign in the Cape Cod League, Butler, who is in his sixth professional season, looks to contribute to the Boston Red Sox before the end of the year.
In 83 games for the Paw Sox, Butler hit .241/.317/.350 but got hot lately going 12 for his last 24.
Defensively, Butler is a solid defensive catcher who works well with his pitching staff. An impressive receiver and game caller behind the plate, Dan Butler owned a .995 fielding percentage in 54 games catching this season while gunning down 27% of attempted base stealers.
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The 27-year-old catcher does not come to the Boston without experience. He was first called-up earlier this year on August 2nd when David Ross hit the DL with plantar fasciitis. He caught in three games for Boston in the month of August drawing a walk in his second plate appearance.
“It’s something I worked for my whole life and in these past six to seven years, it’s been everything I’ve dreamed of. I was just excited you know, a lot of excitement you know the family and excited for the kids, mostly for the kids”, said Butler of his big league experience.
When Butler made his big debut, he was not the only Butler in attendance.
“It was nice having them there for the kids and my parents you know. I had a lot of family there. I was just really happy to have my mom and dad see me there, it was special”, said Butler whose family traveled from Arizona to Los Angeles to see his big league debut against the Angels.
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Of course for Butler, as it is for many, his time in the big leagues was as much of a learning experience as anything.
“I mean you get familiar with your own scouting reports, the staff you’re working with, the way things work, how you go about your business and how to prepare. A lot of preparation goes into each game, that was the biggest part — how am I going to prepare for each game”.
It seems highly likely that Boston will use Butler a few more times this season, even if it is only once a week. Both Red Sox catchers Christian Vazquez and David Ross have caught plenty of games this year making it rational to believe they could use a break every now and then. Butler will be able to keep both guys well-rested over the last month of a disappointing MLB season so that both men have no nagging injuries going into 2015.
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As for the idea of being a September call-up, Butler was not certain of it Monday morning after Pawtucket clinched a playoff spot around 12:30 AM.
“I won’t know until Kevin [Boles] says something to me. You never know, you just got to go out and treat everyday the same. You don’t count your chickens before they hatch. If it happens, it happens. It will be good, but you never know.”