He was coming out for batting practice for Triple-A Oklahoma City at around 4 p.m. when the 6-4 catcher was called back to the clubhouse.
“I was pretty surprised when I heard,” said Jarrod Saltalamacchia, while driving to his Dallas home. “I knew there was some trade buzz around me, but when 4 p.m. came along I thought ‘Ok, didn’t get traded.’ And then I get called back in, I spoke to our general manager (Jon Daniels) and I was thrilled to be going to the Red Sox organization.”
Saltalamacchia is no stranger to Boston rumors. He’s heard them for years. He’s a huge fan of Jason Varitek and has, for so long, wanted to hook up with Gary Tuck to work with him on defense. Saltalamacchia was once considered a big time prospect who was once traded for Mark Teixeira, but a combination of injuries and untapped potential has cost him some time. He came up with the yips in his throwing arm where he couldn’t throw the ball back to the pitcher, but he’s over that now.
“I see this as a new start for me,” Salty said. “I wish I could have gone back up with the Rangers but they’re in a pennant race and they didn’t feel it was the time for me. So I accept that. I have a lot to prove to myself and to the Red Sox now. I’m just going to go down to Pawtucket, play as hard as I can and hope when there’s a need to get to Boston and prove myself up there.”
Saltalamacchia was returning to his Dallas home and then planning to to arrive in Pawtucket by 4 p.m. tomorrow. He expects to play on Monday.
Saltalamacchia, 25, said he had a brief conversation with Theo Epstein, but looked forward to getting to know everyone.
He also appears to be protection if the Sox do not re-sign Victor Martinez. Saltalamacchia is a similar prototype to Martinez – a tall, switch-hitting catcher who can also play first base.
“I can’t think about what plans the Red Sox have for me right now. I just need to play well and show them what I can do. I see this is a great opportunity for me to be with a great organization. I think it’s going to be a positive step for my career.”