Bobby Valentine Adjusting to the Challenge of Having Three Catchers on Roster


Bobby Valentine Adjusting to the Challenge of Having Three Catchers on RosterBOSTON — In 16 years of managing, Bobby Valentine never once had three catchers on his roster at the same time.

After promoting Ryan Lavarnway earlier this week, it placed the Red Sox manager in unfamiliar territory, with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach each healthy and also in the catching fold.

"I don't know how permanent a three-catcher situation is going to be, but it's nothing I've ever been comfortable with or even tried to do, I don't think," Valentine said. "But if they're here the whole time, I will get them work behind the plate."

The challenge, Valentine said, is divvying up playing time between the trio of backstops. Since adding a third catcher on Wednesday, Shoppach has started behind the plate twice while Saltalamacchia and Lavarnway have received one cap apiece.

When Daniel Nava was sidelined with a wrist injury, Valentine had the option to recall designated hitter Mauro Gomez instead of Lavarnway. But the manager cited options in each player's contract for the decision.

"These three catchers, I'm not uncomfortable with," Valentine said. "Just the concept of three catchers is something I haven't had on rosters before. Lavarnway has caught an awful lot, also, and we feel like if he's just used as a hitter, it's not so bad."

Once David Ortiz returns, Lavarnway — barring any other injuries or transactions — could be demoted back to Triple-A.

Also, in a strange twist, Saltalamacchia didn't miss Friday's game with an ear infection as Valentine implied. On Saturday, the Red Sox catcher revealed that he was battling with food poisoning.

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