Will Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Ryan Lavarnway Start More Games at Catcher the Rest of the Season?

Will Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Ryan Lavarnway Start More Games at Catcher the Rest of the Season?With the recent trade of Kelly Shoppach to the Mets, the path is clear for Ryan Lavarnway to finally get his chance to prove his worth as Boston's catcher of the future.

Or it would be, if there wasn't already a 27-year-old named Jarrod Saltalamacchia still squatting behind the plate, in his way.

After all, Saltalamacchia is enjoying a career year in many respects. He's already set a new career high in home runs, and is on pace to set similar marks in RBIs, runs scored and OPS. It's not an easy task to take over the mantle from one of the most decorated catchers Boston has ever had, but the man with the longest last name in MLB history has done an admirable job.

For the most part, that is. Saltalamacchia is also on pace to set a new career high in strikeouts, and is likely to establish new career lows in batting average and on-base percentage. In fact, of the 90 games he's appeared in, he's struck out two or more times in 26 of them.

That's where Lavarnway potentially comes in. Ranked the ninth-best prospect in Boston's system prior to this season, the catcher hit .295 with eight homers and 43 RBIs in 83 games for Pawtucket before he was called up in early August.

On the other hand, again, Lavarnway doesn't exactly have an awe-inspiring track record in the bigs. In his brief 17-game stint in Boston last season, the young backstop hit .231 with a pair of homers and eight RBIs — while in eight games so far in 2012, he's hitting .125 with no homers or RBIs.

But at the end of the day, one of these guys has to get down behind the plate.

Who will start more games for the Red Sox for the rest of the season?