When the Red Sox acquired catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia from the Texas Rangers at the trade deadline, it figured to have an impact on the major league club in the future. The question was: How long into the future?
It turns out that less than two weeks after joining the organization that coveted him for years, Saltalamacchia is prepared to make his presence felt.
Saltalamacchia was promoted from Triple-A Pawtucket to the Red Sox prior to Wednesday night’s game in Toronto. Current back-up catcher Kevin Cash was placed on the 15-day disabled list to make room on the roster for the one-time Atlanta and Texas prospect.
Saltalamacchia, 25, was hitting .238 (5-for-21) in five games with the PawSox and is a .243 hitter overall this year at the minor league level. But even given those less-than-impressive numbers, and the throwing problems that prompted his demotion in the first place, he will represent an instant offensive upgrade from Cash, who is hitting .148.
The Sox have struggled to score runs for weeks. They have a collective .221 team average and an on-base percentage just below .300 since losing first baseman Kevin Youkilis for the season. Among many issues on the offensive front involves the positioning shuffle caused by Youkilis’ absence.
When All-Star catcher Victor Martinez starts at first base to spell Mike Lowell, who requires occasional time off due to his ongoing hip issues, Cash would go behind the plate. Cash is noted as a solid game manager but left an already sapped lineup with a severe hole at its bottom.
To illustrate the Cash effect, Boston was 8-9 in his 17 starts, averaging just 2.9 runs per game over his last 11. He was one of a triumvirate of replacements — including Gustavo Molina and Dusty Brown — that failed to drive in a run during the roughly one month that Martinez was sidelined with a broken left thumb.
The Red Sox are 0-3 this month when Martinez starts at first and injured reserve Jason Varitek remains roughly two weeks away from returning from a broken foot.
In Saltalamacchia, that hole can be filled every four or five days with a former first-round pick who has slugged more than 100 points higher than Cash in his short career and remains a guy with upside.
The hope in acquiring Saltalamacchia was that a change of scenery, his third in just four years as a major leaguer, would eventually give him the chance he needs to fulfill his once-lofty expectations. That chance has arrived, perhaps earlier than expected.
Powered by WordPress.com VIP