BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalmacchia joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Wednesday morning, talking everything from Bobby Valentine to the team’s focus for the rest of the season.
While the Red Sox have struggled to a 68-81 record, Saltamacchia is enjoying the best seasons on his career clubbing 24 homers and driving in 56 runs over 112 games.
Manager Bobby Valentine raised some eyebrows over the weekend, saying Boston’s current roster was “the weakest roster we’ve ever had in September in the history of baseball.”
While many questioned what Valentine had to say — not the statement but more the fact he actually said it — Saltalmacchia understands what he was getting at, and agrees.
“It’s the truth. It’s one of those things where you have a lineup for the past decade with guys like Mike Lowell, Varitek, Adrian, Big Papi; lineups like that where we’re shooting for the playoffs and contending for the world series,” said Saltamacchia. “When you trade a big package away like we did a few motnhs ago, it makes your lineup weaker.”
“I don’t think it had anything to do with the guys on this team, because we have some good players,” he said. “But we don’t have the all-star caliber players that we had. The guys that are here, you never know, they could end up being that. But we have such a young core that it’s understandable what he’s talking about. We didn’t take it the wrong way, that’s for sure.”
Earlier in the season, backup catcher Kelly Shoppach complained to Valentine that he wasn’t getting enough playing time. Shoppach has since been traded to the Mets, but Saltalmacchia was on board with what he had to say. Shoppach actually approached Saltalamacchia prior to going to Valentine.
“Shopp came to me and talked to me about it, said ‘don’t take it personally.’ I told him he had to do what he had to do. But Shopp was such a good teammate that it didn’t bother me,” said Saltalmacchia. “I think maybe the media didn’t understand and they needed to write something. There has been a lot of things written this year.”
Saltalamacchia didn’t let all the media talk bother him, as he was (and always is) focused on what needed to be done on the field, not what’s being written in the papers.
“I try to go out there and play hard. I let too many of the little things bother me in the past in Texas, and learned that no good can come out of it,” he said. “So I just go out and play.”
With the season winding down the Red Sox are just trying to play spoiler, hoping to finish the season on a strong note. Many of their younger players are now getting their chance, which includes catcher Ryan Lavarnway. The 25-year-old prospect has played all but one game in September — rotating with Saltalamacchia behind the plate and at DH. Is Saltalmacchia, and most of the remaining roster, playing for starting jobs in 2013?
“I don’t think that I’m contending for a starting job; we have to have two catchers,” said Saltalamacchia. “It’s something I’ve been through earlier in my career – getting a lot of playing time where the organization wants to see what you can do at the big league level.
“I understand the situation; I’ve talked to Ben (Cherington) and he let me know what was going to be happening. It’s fine,” he said. “(Lavarnway) needs to play; he needs to be seen and needs to get that experience. If we want to win we need to have two catchers.”
Could Lavarnway taking over behind the plate lead to Saltalamacchia getting more time at first base? While he would be up for a move, the five-year backstop is hoping that isn’t the case.
“I’d love to stay behind the plate. It’s something I love to do and worked so hard at. But if it furthers my career and that’s the way to do it to help the team, I’m all for doing it. Right now I feel like I help the team more behind the plate.”
Plus, how did Saltalmacchia get his new entrance music?
On Saturday, Saltalamacchia will appear at HomeStart’s 4th Annual Gala to help the homeless. Click here for more information on the event.