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Saltalamacchia?

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Saltalamacchia?

Postby Strokin Shortstop » Sun Feb 17, 2008 1:04 am

Any news on Rangers catcher Saltalamacchia? I read somewhere that he may start the season in Triple-A. I can't find that article again, so has anyone heard anything else?
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Re: Saltalamacchia?

Postby Strokin Shortstop » Sun Feb 17, 2008 2:56 pm

Here is the article from MLB.com's Rangers page:

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A word from manager Ron Washington on the Rangers catching position:
"It's open," Washington said Thursday as pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training.

The Rangers have six catchers in camp but two will compete for the starting job. In one corner is Gerald Laird, who was the Opening Day catcher in 2007, and in the other corner is Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a switch-hitting top prospect who is entering his first full season in the Major Leagues.

That is, if he makes the team. This will likely be the most competitive position battle in camp.

"That's what they told me, it's time to come in here and win a job," said Saltalamacchia, who was acquired from the Braves on July 31. "That's why I worked so hard in the offseason. I came out here a couple of times and to Texas a couple of times, doing a lot more extra work on my defense."

A year ago there was no doubt that Laird would be the starting catcher. But that was before his batting average went from .296 in 2006 to .224 last season while trying to be a leader behind the plate for a struggling, injury-ravaged pitching staff.

"I know I can hit," Laird said. "I had a rough year last year but I hit the year before. I guess I need to be more vocal with the pitchers, get to know them better and those guys in the strike zone. I feel I put my time in and have taken every step. I had a bad year last year and there's room for improvement. For me to have to earn a job, it's kind of ridiculous but I'll do whatever I have to do."

Clearly Saltalamacchia needs to improve his defense. He was just 1-of-17 throwing out basestealers over the past two months after being acquired from the Braves. He split time between catcher and first base but the Rangers now want him to concentrate strictly on catching.

"That's what I want to do," Saltalamacchia said. "My No. 1 love is catching. I just love it. If I played first base for a few years I'd probably love it too but I love to catch. I love to get beat up."

Laird, 29, has the edge in experience and defense. But the Rangers like Saltalamacchia's bat and feel he can be a competitive advantage for them once he masters the defensive nuances as well as working with a pitching staff.

He's not guaranteed a job. The Rangers have veterans Chris Stewart and Adam Melhuse in camp. If the Rangers feel Laird should be the No. 1 guy, Saltalamacchia could start the season in Triple-A Oklahoma refining his game.

"Let's just wait until we get into games," Washington said. "Right now we just want to get them into shape and get them ready to play."
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Re: Saltalamacchia?

Postby The River » Sun Feb 17, 2008 7:57 pm

I'd be shocked if Salty doesn't win the job based on his enormous potential (some of which we have already witnessed).
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Re: Saltalamacchia?

Postby mtarail » Tue Feb 19, 2008 12:28 am

Even if Laird got the starting job, you gotta figure they'll get Salty in the lineup. It could be DH or 1B, if Texas decides they need Laird in the lineup too.
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Re: Saltalamacchia?

Postby mnmark » Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:08 am

The article states clearly that if he doesnt win the job He will go to triple a and catch everyday so he can work on his defense and catching skills. He can hit the problem is Laird is a much better catcher at this point and Salty wont get better catching once or twice a week in the Bigs. I believe Laird will be there opening day starter and Salty will get called up as soon as he proves that teams cant run at will against him. especially with there staff. they need a decent catcher not a decent hitter behind the plate. Lairds days as there starting catcher will be over sooner than later.
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Re: Saltalamacchia?

Postby tooslim73 » Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:40 pm

He's a nice late round pick-up IMO...

I always draft a scrub for roster flexibility anyways...

However, he's going way to high...I'm looking for him to move to 1st base, his offensive potential is too great to be stuck in AAA "working on defense"...

I think he is a shrewed backup pick at first base...in Yahoo leagues anyway. If you pick him up early.

Look for him to gain eligibility there while Laird keeps C it really really warm for him...he may already have it...I seem to remember him playing a few for Atlanta last year...

Awesome late round back-up catcher, though.
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Re: Saltalamacchia?

Postby CadensDad » Thu Feb 21, 2008 9:55 pm

I like Salty, but feel he is going too early for my taste, I'd rather take a more proven catcher like one of the 4 M's or even Johjima,Posada, and if not oen of them grab Soto or someone like that.
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