Red Sox, Jarrod Saltalamacchia Avoid Arbitration With One-Year Contract

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Red Sox, Jarrod Saltalamacchia Avoid Arbitration With One-Year Contract The Red Sox have avoided arbitration with reserve catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia by signing him to a one-year deal, the team announced Thursday.

Terms of the contract were not disclosed but it keeps alive general manager Theo Epstein's streak of never going to arbitration in his tenure with the club. Jonathan Papelbon, Jacoby Ellsbury and Hideki Okajima are the sole remaining players on the roster currently eligible for that status.

Saltalamacchia, 25, hit just .158 with an RBI in 10 games for Boston after coming over from Texas in a July 31 trade. His year was cut short when he required season-ending surgery to repair a ligament in his left thumb on Sept. 28.

A former first-round pick of Atlanta in 2003, Saltalamacchia had been coveted by the Red Sox for several years. The organization was finally able to buy low and acquire him after a series of throwing issues prompted the Rangers to demote him earlier in the year.

Saltalamacchia may enter the 2011 season as the backup to Victor Martinez, if Martinez re-signs with the club, or could start out at Triple-A Pawtucket. If he develops the way the organization hopes, Saltalamacchia could be the long-term solution behind the plate if Martinez walks or is eventually shifted to a role that sees him play first base and designated hitter more often.

Jason Varitek, also a free agent, is still in the mix for 2011 but may have played his last game with the team.

In 250 career games with Atlanta, Texas and Boston, Saltalamacchia is a .248 hitter with 23 home runs and 95 RBIs.

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