FORT MYERS, Fla. — Josh Beckett, Tim Wakefield, John Lackey, Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard all have lockers at the end of the first row in the clubhouse at the player development complex.
Pitchers travel in packs in spring training, doing their own drills and activities. Only once in a while do they cross paths with the position players. That dynamic carries over to the clubhouse, too. The pitchers are on one side, the position guys on the other.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia crossed the great divide this morning, moving into the vacant locker near Beckett and Wakefield. When Wakefield asked him why he moved, Salty said he was looking for some more space.
“And I want to be near my pitchers,” he said.
My pitchers. That’s the kind of thing you want to hear from a young catcher in the position Saltalamacchia has been put in. He’s taking ownership of the situation and showing those veteran pitchers that he’s there for them.
It’s worth noting that the only other position player on that side of the room is Jason Varitek and you can bet Saltalamacchia noticed that.
Little things are meaningless without the skills to back it up. The Red Sox believe Saltalamacchia has the ability and through a few days of camp, he’s doing all the little things right, too. That’s a good way to start.
A few other notes from camp:
• Ron Johnson, the popular first base coach, is not here and Terry Francona indicated he’s dealing with a family issue. Johnson’s daughter, Bridget, was involved in a terrible accident last year.
• Tomorrow is The Big Meeting. The owners, the manager, the GM, staff members, a cast of thousands. Teams try and set the tone before the first full-squad workout.
• Watched Alfredo Aceves pitch today. He was free and easy and spotted all his pitches well. I’m sure the Yankees had their reasons for letting him go, but the Red Sox may have made a smart pickup.