Tag:Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Posted on: August 31, 2011 6:40 pm

Ortiz the voice of peace: 'This ain't no WWF'

BOSTON -- Francisco Cervelli probably shouldn't have clapped. Jarrod Saltalamacchia probably should have chosen his words more carefully.

Good thing we have David Ortiz to put it in perspective.

No, Ortiz said emphatically, he understood what Cervelli did, and certainly didn't think it was worth fighting about. No, Ortiz said just as emphatically, he had no problem with Saltalamacchia suggesting that Cervelli's emphatic celebration had something to do with his Latin American heritage.

"We are like that, for real," said Ortiz, who comes from the Dominican Republic (Cervelli is from Venezuela). "Sometimes we forget where we're playing. The kid [Saltalamacchia] is a great dude, so I don't think he means anything bad.

"He's telling the truth."

Saltalamacchia first told reporters that "it's just the Latin players" who react the way Cervelli did, clapping wildly as he crossed the plate after hitting a home run. Saltalamacchia later said he meant to say it was because Cervelli is a young player.

"Salty comes in every day and gives me a hug, and I'm Latin," Ortiz said. "He's a sweet dude."

Ortiz has been known to irritate pitchers by admiring his home runs, and he defended himself.

"When I go deep, I want to enjoy myself," he said. "People have different ways to celebrate."

But Ortiz, who was involved in an altercation with the Orioles earlier this year, and served a three-game suspension because of it, said he doesn't want or expect his team to fight with the Yankees.

"You're playing baseball, not wrestling," he said. "We got our butts kicked [Tuesday]. All I care about is going out there and whooping their butts. Hopefully people understand, we're not here to fight. I missed three games in Baltimore, when I should have been playing.

"This ain't no WWF. This is baseball."

Posted on: June 8, 2011 5:20 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2011 5:55 pm

Teixeira plays, many others don't

NEW YORK -- Mark Teixeira did it.

He made it back into the Yankee lineup Wednesday, a day after taking a 90-mph Jon Lester cutter to his right knee and going down in so much pain that most watching feared he had broken his kneecap.

"It feels really good," Teixeira said, before adding more realistically, "The pain is still there, but it's tolerable."

Teixeira played Wednesday, but Russell Martin didn't. Yankee manager Joe Girardi said that Martin's back locked up after Tuesday's game.

The Yankees were also without Joba Chamberlain, who went on the disabled list with a flexor tendon strain.

And the Red Sox were without Jed Lowrie, who had an MRI on his sore shoulder/back, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was sick. Saltalamacchia's absence forced the Red Sox to use Jason Varitek to catch Tim Wakefield, which he almost never does, and it also forced the Sox to make a roster move to add a catcher. Bobby Jenks, who left Tuesday's game when his back tightened up, went on the disabled list, and Luis Exposito was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket.

And meanwhile, Mark Teixeira was back in the Yankee lineup.

Posted on: May 19, 2011 1:53 pm

Red Sox need a catcher, so why not Pudge?

NEW YORK -- The question has come up half a dozen times, just in the last week.

"What are the Red Sox going to do about their catching?" one scout or another asks. "They've got to go find a catcher."

No matter how many times the Red Sox say that Jarrod Saltalamacchia is getting better, scouts watching the team all come back saying the same thing. They've got to get a catcher.

How about Pudge Rodriguez?

Rodriguez is a back-up now with the Nationals, who are using Wilson Ramos as their starter. Rodriguez is hitting just .238, heading into Thursday's afternoon game against the Mets, but he has 14 RBI in 63 at-bats.

And, unlike Saltalamacchia, he's still a plus defender.

"He can really block balls in the dirt, and he can really throw," Nats manager Jim Riggleman said, echoing what rival scouts have said. "He's really at the top of his game defensively.

"He's a No. 1 catcher, who is in a backup role here."

That may be a little bit of an exaggeration, but not much.

The Nationals have suggested to people that they're not anxious to trade Rodriguez yet, but it's hard to believe they wouldn't. The Red Sox keep suggesting that the Saltalamacchia-Jason Varitek combination will be fine, but it's hard to believe it will be.

And Rodriguez?

He smiled Thursday morning when I asked him about Boston.

"That's a good park to hit in," he said. "I've always hit well there."

Nationals people rave about how willing Rodriguez has been to accept his role, and to work with Ramos. Rodriguez raved about Ramos, saying, "He's going to be great. He's a very, very good catcher, and a good hitter."

But even at 39, Rodriguez doesn't believe he's at the end of his own career.

"I've got plenty of years left," he said. "I feel great. I can probably play 2-3 more years, for sure. I still love what I do."

He's also moving closer to his goal of 3,000 hits. Rodriguez entered play Thursday with 2,832 hits.

Posted on: May 13, 2011 11:26 pm

Nearly 40 games in, Yanks and Sox remain a puzzle

NEW YORK -- It's a little disconcerting to hear the manager of the Yankees openly hoping that a series with the Red Sox would "bring out the best" in his team.

And almost as disconcerting to hear the manager of the Red Sox admit that the Sox are "still taking one step forward and one step back."

But that's where we are in the American League East, perilously close to the 40-game mark that is supposed to define teams, but without much definition at all about the sport's two superpowers.

We're at a point where one rival scout could walk away from Friday's 5-4 Boston win and declare, "The Yankees are in trouble," but also at a point where that sounds needlessly harsh.

What seems more reasonable is to say that these are two very talented teams with very big issues -- but not necessarily season-killing issues.

The issues have allowed the Rays to sneak into first place, which just adds to the questions about both the Yankees and the Red Sox.

On one side:

-- It really does feel like the Red Sox follow every step forward with a step back. But maybe it feels more like that because even though the Red Sox have followed their 2-10 start by going 16-10 since (basically a 100-win pace over a full season), their overall record is still disappointing.

-- John Lackey's problems are a real issue. It's obvious he's distracted, and easy to believe that a family medical issue is the reason. The Red Sox understandably want to be compassionate, and Lackey apparently wants to pitch through the trouble, but the time may be coming when the team tells him that it's best not to.

-- The Sox have consistently stood behind Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and even on Friday general manager Theo Epstein spoke of the improvement he sees. But the Sox are getting less offense from the catcher spot than any team but the Joe Mauer-less Twins, and rival scouts are suggesting that Saltalamacchia's game-calling skills are hurting the pitching staff (along with his inability to throw out runners trying to steal).

On the other side:

-- The Yankees haven't hit well this week, and every time they struggle at the plate, someone says they're too old. The daily Derek Jeter questions have slowed after he got a few hits, but now there are daily questions about Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada. Are they old or simply slumping? By the end of the year, maybe we'll know.

-- The rotation has been somewhat better than advertised, despite the Phil Hughes saga. But even with another encouraging start from Bartolo Colon Friday, you wonder how long Colon and Freddy Garcia will hold up, and who will be next in line if they don't?

-- The answer to the rotation questions was supposed to be a shutdown bullpen, but the road to Mariano Rivera is still paved with questions. Rafael Soriano hasn't yet been worth the money, and Joba Chamberlain is at times brilliant ("Best I've ever seen him," one scout said Friday afternoon) and at other times his usual puzzle (three huge hits, including a Kevin Youkilis home run, in Friday's decisive seventh inning).

Put it all together, and you start to understand why neither of these teams is in first place, why Joe Girardi was hoping for a Red Sox-fueled revival this weekend, and why Terry Francona was admitting that his Sox team is "certainly not clicking on all cylinders."

Forty games won't be enough to get a true handle on either of these teams.

Check back after 80.
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