The initial thought of many, including my own, was, "Isn't that the guy who can't throw the ball back to the pitcher?" Yes, that was him.
He had only played in two major league games with the Rangers that season, spending most of the year in Triple-A. After the trade, he only played in 10 games with the Red Sox and didn't make much of an impact.
Now, he's making a huge impact behind the plate in Boston.
Starting the game on the bench tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays, Saltalamacchia was just looking for a shot to shine. He got that shot in the bottom of the ninth, down 2-1 with Daniel Nava on second base. Facing Rays closer Fernando Rodney, who had only let up one run the entire season, Salty stepped into the box. He would then crush a Rodney pitch deep to right-center field and over the fence for a two-run walk-off home run.
Of course, this is only one sample of him succeeding but he has been consistent the entire season.
Through 36 games this year, he's hitting .274/.314/.575 with 18 extra-base hits (10 doubles, eight home runs), 21 RBI and 16 runs. Now tied for the lead among catchers in home runs, Saltalamacchia is well on his way to passing his career-high of 16 set last season. He's also been good defensively, ranking in the top 10 among catchers in fielding percentage and has yet to encounter issues with throwing the ball back to the pitcher.
Saltalamacchia might not be Matt Weiters or Alex Avila but he's been a big contributor to the Red Sox this season. A selection to the All-Star game is still very far off but he does deserve some credit for what he's been doing.
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