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June 24, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Q&A with Dusty Brown

For those who have followed the Red Sox farm system for the past decade, it has perhaps become easy to take Dusty Brown for granted. Since he signed with Boston in 2001 as a draft-and-follow from the 2000 Draft, Brown has made a slow, steady climb up the ladder to the big leagues, finally making his major league debut exactly one year ago yesterday, June 23. During that time, he has built a reputation as a solid defensive catcher who can handle a pitching staff with a bit of pop and good plate discipline, as well as a great clubhouse presence. Dusty recently took some time out to chat with SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield.

Chris Hatfield: Here in Pawtucket, you’re one of the guys on the “Taxi Squad” – if someone goes down up in Boston, you’re the guy they would call up, especially now that Mark (Wagner) is on the DL too. Being in that position, how much do you keep an eye on what’s going on up in Boston? Is that something that’s on your mind, or do you try to block that out and just focus on playing your game?
Dusty Brown: Most days I don’t really pay too much attention to it, but whenever I hear something, like the other day when Victor took that foul ball off his foot, it obviously makes me get ready to go and think for a minute that something might happen. But for the most part, I just worry about what I do here and just let everything else happen the way it’s going to happen.

CH: The past few years, you’ve usually been paired up with someone, like George Kottaras or Wagner, but there have been other times, like now, when you’re playing almost every day. Does that change the way you go about your business, and do you find it harder to get into a rhythm when you’re paired up with a “partner”?
DB: It just depends on the way things are going at the time. A couple years ago when I split time with George, we both had really good seasons and it seemed to work out great. We got along really well and worked well together, and it was a good year. Other times, I don’t want to split time. I would prefer to play every day. I like coming to the yard knowing that I’m going to be in the lineup, but I’ve got to do whatever they tell me to do. But as far as preparing, it’s all the same. It’s probably a little bit easier to get into a rhythm when you’re playing every day, but it’s also easier to get tired when you play three or four games in a row behind the plate. It’s just a matter of keeping myself fresh, keeping my body in shape.

CH: Now, there’s Wakefield, Varitek, Delcarmen, and then you in terms of longevity in the system. So as a guy who, I guess, is one of the senior members in the Red Sox system, whether it’s down in spring training, or at other times, do you get any kind of seniority here?
DB: I wish! I feel like if I had maybe a few more years in Boston I would. It’s weird that I’ve been here this long, especially with the amount of big league time that I have. But I love the organization, I love being here. I definitely don’t have any kind of seniority, especially in spring training in the big league clubhouse. But everybody knows me and I know everybody and I’ve been here as long as anybody that’s been here except Wake and Tek and Delcarmen, but for example, the front office people, I was here before any of them. It’s nice to be able to come back to the same place every year and not shuffle around worrying where you’re going to play.

CH: We’re coming up on just under a year since your son Jude was born. Obviously becoming a father changes everything, but from a baseball perspective, has becoming a father changed anything for you in that respect?
DB: I try to keep the same schedule. Obviously I do more things when I’m at home as far as taking care of him and playing with him and stuff, but as far as the hours I’m at the field I try not to change anything. I don’t want to show up late and I don’t want to leave early. I still want to be here – it’s my job and my career. Then in the offseason he’s got all my time.

CH: Being in the minor leagues, this is a team sport, but at the same time, you’re in a competition with your teammates to get up to the next level. Does that become hard to balance? Are the guys who make it the ones that wind up not worrying about that?
DB: It’s hard for me to say for other positions, because for me, it’s not so much of an issue, because the more I am a team player, especially working with my pitching staff and making those guys better and helping them perform, the better I look as a catcher. Offensively, being a catcher, anything I do to help the team win a game at the plate is a plus, but my job is behind the plate calling the game, running the game, and that’s the philosophy behind anything I do. I think for a catcher it’s not the same thing that it would be for another position, like a corner outfielder or corner infielder.

CH: Developing as a catcher, it’s really unique in that you do have to worry about an entire staff of pitchers. When you’re promoted to another level, you’ve got to learn a bunch of new pitchers – it’s not like you just need to worry about your hitting and your defense. You mentioned the differences a bit before, but how have you viewed that coming up as a catcher?
DB: You get the throwing and receiving out of the way early, then the other stuff comes with experience the more you play, the more pitchers you work with. Especially for Boston, a huge part of being a catcher is being able to handle a pitching staff, and over the last two, three, four years, that’s definitely the part of my game that I’ve focused on most. I think that it’s the part of my game that guys up the street are most concerned about and the part that they need behind the plate. It’s definitely the last thing to come, but it’s a huge part of being a big league catcher.

CH: You’ve had so many teammates coming up through the system, but is there any teammate that sticks out for you as most impressive?
DB: I’ve played with everybody, from Hanley Ramirez to David Murphy, I came up with Pap, Lester, Pedroia. Everybody I’ve played with, just to see where they are now and what they’ve become, it’s amazing – superstars that five years ago were my A-ball teammates. They were just another guy and now they’re All-Stars and World Series Champions, and doing commercials. It’s weird that I know all of them and that I know all of them well and played with them so long ago. I played with Hanley when he was 170, 180 pounds and 18 years old, but I guess that’s what happens when you get older, huh? Most people move on and I just kind of stay where I’m at.

CH: Now, the name Jude came from both you and your wife being big Beatles fans. (DB: Yup.) I’ve gotta find out: what's your favorite Beatles album?
DB: I couldn’t even begin…
CH: You don't have a favorite one to throw on or something?
DB: I have favorite songs, not albums. Hey Jude obviously. I love Eleanor Rigby. I love Yesterday. I love Across the Universe, I love the movie too. I’ve got a lot – I could go on forever.