When the Red Sox squared off against the Miami Marlins on June 20, it was one of the hottest days of the year in Boston. The temperatures started off in the high 90s and briefly cracked triple digits.
Red Sox backstop Jarrod Saltalamacchia had to crouch and catch pitchers Felix Doubront and Clayton Mortensen almost all day, getting a reprieve only for the ninth inning in the 15-5 victory.
It was Saltalamacchia's second straight start in the sweltering heat, and the rising temperatures were taking a toll on his body. Saltalamacchia needed to drink more water than usual.
"I [was] just trying to do everything I can, because I've had cramps before and all that stuff," Saltalamacchia said. "It's not fun trying to sleep at night, and you're just cramping up. We've been doing everything [in terms of hydration], and the trainers have been doing a great job with all the guys."
Judging by Saltalamacchia's performance at the plate that night, the extra hydration seemingly did the trick. The 27-year-old wound up sparking the Red Sox in the rout, going 2-for-4 with a solo shot –– his 13th of season –– while scoring three runs.
Before and even during the games, Saltalamacchia said he stays hydrated by drinking water. It's especially necessary for catchers, considering the constant crouching and throwing to pitchers wears down the body more than other positions may.
Fortunately for Saltalamacchia, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine helped out, substituting backup catcher Kelly Shoppach to spell him in the ninth. But Saltalamacchia ended up shedding some weight in the scorching heat.
"It was one of those hotter nights," he said. "I didn't weigh in so, I have no clue, but [I think I lost] three or four pounds probably."
It's only the beginning of the summer, so the challenge is only starting for Saltalamacchia. But it sounds like he's found some tricks for beating the heat.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) is offering 100 healthy tips to celebrate Fenway Park’s centennial. Visit 100pitches.org to learn more.