Jarrod Saltalamacchia Was Unavailable to Pinch Hit for Red Sox Because of ‘Big Ear Infection’

Jarrod Saltalamacchia Was Unavailable to Pinch Hit for Red Sox Because of 'Big Ear Infection'BOSTON –– Jarrod Saltalamacchia wasn't available to pinch-hit. In fact, the Red Sox catcher wasn't at Fenway Park whatsoever.

During his postgame press conference –– after Friday's 6-5 loss –– Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine revealed that Saltalamacchia was battling an ear infection that sidelined him from the action.

"Salty wasn't here," Valentine said. "He has a big ear infection — [with a] fever."

Valentine didn’t offer many details on Saltalamacchia's condition, only saying that he wasn't hospitalized. But the catcher's absence was noticeable, considering the offense's lack of punch.

The starting lineup had rookie Ryan Lavarnway slotted as the designated hitter while Kelly Shoppach, who has been dealing with a minor shin injury, returned to the lineup and caught Doubront.

When Shoppach was hitting against Twins right-hander Jared Burton in the 10th inning, it would've signaled the perfect situation to insert Saltalamacchia –– who delivered a walk-off homer back in May –– to pinch hit for the Red Sox.

Without Saltalamacchia, Shoppach stayed in the game and wound up belting a deep fly ball, the second-to-last out in Friday's game. For the time being, Valentine is waiting to see if Saltalamacchia can play on Saturday.

"I hope so," Valentine said.

There's no word on whether the infection is connected to the ear laceration that Saltalamacchia suffered against Philadelphia in May. The injury required the catcher to get 12 stitches.

Have a question for Didier Morais? Send it to him via Twitter at @DidierMorais or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.