Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Red Sox: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who struggled at the end of the season the last two years, will be behind the plate for the majority of the games as the team’s No. 1 catcher with veteran David Ross filling in part time, mostly against lefties. Ryan Lavarnway remains waiting in the wings in Pawtucket. While Salty turned up the power with a career-high 25 home runs in 2012, he struggled to a .222/.288/.454 finish and became an easy strikeout target as the season wore on. He may be at a crossroads in his Red Sox career if he doesn’t improve his plate discipline and become a consistent offensive force in 2013.
Francisco Cervelli, Yankees: The catching job is up for grabs in New York, but the 26-year-old Cervelli, who appeared in only three games for the Yankees in 2012 after being demoted just before Opening Day in 2012, stared the season behind the dish with Russell Martin gone to the Pirates. Cervelli, the Yankees’ backup catcher from 2009-2011, decided to play winter ball in the Venezuelan league after a disappointing 2012 campaign. For the Triple-A Scranton Yankees, Cervelli batted.246/.341/.316, with two homers and 15 doubles in 99 games. With a reputation for exuberance and a knack for producing in clutch situations early in his career, Cervelli has slipped a bit defensively and remains unimpressive at the plate. Look for up-and-comer Chris Stewart to see significant playing time behind the plate as well.
The edge: Red Sox. The Yankees take the hit taken for trading top catching prospect Jesus Montero.