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Inbox: Varitek, Pedro on track to coach?

Beat reporter Ian Browne answers questions from Red Sox fans
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

When will we see Jason Varitek join the coaching staff? He knows the game inside and out, and I think he would be a great presence in the dugout.
-- Geno R., Milford, Conn.

Varitek has worked really hard in his role as special assistant to learn all facets of how an organization is run. But as he said last week, the way he can help out most is by being in uniform and working directly with players. I think that it's really up to Varitek to decide when he's ready to be part of the team full time. I could see him being effective as a pitching coach, a catching instructor, a bench coach or a manager.

When will we see Jason Varitek join the coaching staff? He knows the game inside and out, and I think he would be a great presence in the dugout.
-- Geno R., Milford, Conn.

Varitek has worked really hard in his role as special assistant to learn all facets of how an organization is run. But as he said last week, the way he can help out most is by being in uniform and working directly with players. I think that it's really up to Varitek to decide when he's ready to be part of the team full time. I could see him being effective as a pitching coach, a catching instructor, a bench coach or a manager.

Will Pedro Martinez be a uniformed coach for the Red Sox?
-- John P., Mt. Holly, Vt.

In the conversations I've had with him, Martinez has not talked about wanting to be a full-time coach. I don't think that traveling with a baseball team over a 162-game schedule is something that appeals to him at all at this stage of his life, and I'm not sure that will change. I think Martinez is content being a voice and an instructor for the Red Sox when they ask for it. He has also done a nice job as an analyst for MLB Network and TBS.

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What are the plans for Brock Holt this season?
-- Liam R., Portland, Maine

Those plans are pretty standard. Holt again gives the Red Sox versatility and insurance at every position on the diamond, aside from pitcher or catcher. Even if Holt doesn't have an everyday position, he is an invaluable part of the team.

Let's say that Blake Swihart plays well, Christian Vazquez is ready to play by about June 1, and Hanley Ramirez is either hurt or ineffective. Is there any chance Swihart will move to first base?
-- Ryan B., Wallkill, N.Y.

That's some good outside-the-box thinking right there. I do think Swihart could move to first base at some point if Vazquez demonstrates that he can be consistent enough offensively to be a full-time catcher. But the Red Sox haven't shown any inclination to tinker with Swihart's position this year. I think the goal is to keep him at catcher for now and see how he develops there. It's extremely valuable to have a catcher who can hit the way Swihart can.

Video: BOS@NYY: Swihart connects for three-run shot to right

I am optimistic about Hanley's transition to first base. But if he struggles, would the Sox consider giving some time for David Ortiz at first so Hanley can DH and stay in the lineup?
-- Chris F., Portland, Maine

I don't see this as a viable solution. Ortiz's offense is a vital component to the team and there's a chance that playing extended defense could take away from his production. The Red Sox have Travis Shaw and Holt as capable defenders at first base if Hanley falters.

What do you think the chances are that Ortiz would come back after 2016 if someone reminded him that the team and fans were expecting an option year in 2017?
-- Kevin S., Syracuse, N.Y.

By definition, the word "option" is exactly that -- an option. It is designed so that the player and team can decide at the time what they think is best. I think Ortiz has more than earned the right to go out when he wants to go out. I highly doubt he will change his mind and come back in 2017. I think that everyone around the Red Sox should just soak in Ortiz's final season and appreciate what he has meant to the organization.

Video: Ortiz to polish off brilliant career in Boston

Is there any chance Anderson Espinosa goes through Class A ball with a possible promotion to Double-A toward the end of the year, giving us the potential to see him in the Majors by the end of the 2017 season?
-- Gary, Monreo, Conn.

The last thing you want to do with a kid like this is rush him. The Red Sox will be careful to make sure they follow a specific plan with regard to how many innings Espinosa pitches each year, and at what speed he moves up the chain. It's very exciting to have an arm like this, which makes it vital that no steps are skipped in his development. Your timetable sounds a little quicker than I'm expecting. Ultimately, Espinosa will demonstrate his readiness by the way he responds to each step.

The Red Sox played great with Torey Lovullo as their interim manager last year. As Lovullo returns to being bench coach, will he have more responsibilities than he did in the past? What does this upcoming season look like for him?
-- Noah M., Lebanon, N.H.

Lovullo deserves credit for not only the way he handled the team during John Farrell's absence, but the fact he selflessly gave up a chance to pursue managerial openings over the offseason. I think Lovullo wants to be there for Farrell this season to make sure he fully recovers from the lymphoma and doesn't have any setbacks.

If Farrell happens to get worn down during his comeback, Lovullo wants to be there for his long-time friend. As long as Farrell is functioning at 100 percent, Lovullo's role as bench coach will be similar to what it has been in the past. I think Lovullo definitely demonstrated late last season that he has what it takes to be a manager some day in the near future.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com.

Boston Red Sox