Saltalamacchia doesn't see Ross' arrival as his ticket out of town

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Saltalamacchia doesn't see Ross' arrival as his ticket out of town

BOSTON -- Like the fans who follow the Red Sox, Jarrod Saltalamacchia took notice of the teams signing of fellow catcher David Ross to a two-year contract last month. But he reacted differently than most.

I . . . wasnt thinking too much about it, he said. But when I did see him sign, I was kind of excited. I've gotten to talk to him a few times, and I've also played against him. Obviously I know what kind of guy he is, what kind of player he is. I'm excited to be able to work with him and learn something from him.

Ross, 35, was a seventh-round pick of the Dodgers in 1998 out of the University of Florida and made his big-league debut in 2002. The native of Georgia spent the past four seasons with the Braves. He has also played for the Pirates, Padres and Reds in addition to a brief stint with the Red Sox at the end of the 2008 season.

Saltalamacchia, 27, holds Ross in high regard.

It's basically Im putting him in the same category as having Jason Varitek around again, Saltalamacchia said. A guy who's been through it, a guy that's been around the game. Hes an older guy. I talked to the Braves Brian McCann a lot about him, and he loved him. So I'm excited to work with him. I think he brings that veteran's presence with the pitching staff, with the guys on the team. And its a great guy to have."

Still, the acquisition of Ross inevitably led to speculation that Saltalamacchia, who has been with the Sox since being acquired from the Rangers at the trading deadline in 2010, or Ryan Lavarnway could be dispatched from the Sox.

Ive been through trade talk before and, honestly, you cant control what happens in this game, Saltalamacchia said. You got to go out there and play hard. Obviously I would love nothing more than to stay here. You go out to battle with these guys and I battled with all year last year and the year prior. So Im not going to read into it. Im just going to get ready and prepare like I normally would.

Ive been in the situation before where things can happen. I understand it. But I look at it as an opportunity for me and David to work together, to be honest with you.

Saltalamacchia has talked with new manager John Farrell several times this offseason, about several topics including the catching situation.

Havent talked to general manager Ben Cherington but Farrell just told me, 'Hey, I think Ross is a guy who complements you really well.' Its a guy that I can work together (with), a guy that -- like is said about Tek -- brings that veteran leadership where you can kind of sit back and talk, get back to the basics of the game.

Saltalamacchia is happy to have bullpen coach Gary Tuck, the only holdover from Bobby Valentines 2012 staff, returning. Tuck, entering his seventh season with the Sox, has been the only constant on the coaching staff over the last few seasons.

"He's one of my best friends, so to have him back obviously is going to be something that I wanted from the get-go, Saltalamacchia said. I think it's going to be best for the team, for the bullpen. Having a guy like that is priceless. I know a lot of teams wanted him a couple of years ago and a lot of teams probably wanted him this season. So Im glad hes back.

Bennett back at practice, but admits injuries hurting his play

Bennett back at practice, but admits injuries hurting his play

FOXBORO -- Martellus Bennett is willing to admit it. 

"Last week was probably my worst game as a Patriot," he told reporters in the locker room on Thursday. "But, you know, you have a bad game here and there. This week, come back grinding, and get ready."

Never was it more clear than on Sunday that Bennett has been hobbled by the injuries he's dealing with. He's coped with an ankle injury since Week 5 in Cleveland that has earned him the respect of his teammates and coaches, but against the Rams it appeared to severely impact his performance. 

He saw four targets and caught two for four yards. As a blocker -- the facet of his game that stood out more than his receiving ability early this season -- he was called for two holds and had difficulty keeping his assignments in check, both in the run game and in pass protection. 

Asked if he may benefit from a week off, Bennett said he planned to continue to play.

"I never thought about that. I just keep going," he said. "I'm like the energizer bunny. I just try to find a way. Sometimes it's [expletive] when you're out there playing with different injuries. You can't do a lot of things that you want to do. You have [expletive] plays. You might have a string of bad plays in a row just because youre dealing with different things . . . 

"But throughout the game you kind of find a way to get the job done. I think that's the biggest point. It may not be pretty all the time, but try to figure some kind of way to get it done. Sometimes it's adjusting as the game goes on."

He added: "The thing about this sport is it's always something. You never go throuigh a season without having some kind of nick or tear, but there's a lot of guys playing with different things. But some guys are able to play through different injuries, and [with] some of the same injuries, you see guys around the league . . . go on IR and things like that. But it just depends on the person and their pain tolerance."

Bennett was back at practice Thursday after he wasn't spotted there on Wednesday. He may be helped by the long week leading up to Monday's game against the Ravens. It could mean an extra day of rest and recovery.

Sometimes, he said, it's difficult not to be out there.

"Sometimes. Sometimes it's like, thank God. I needed that today," he said. "It varies each week. . . I'll fight through whatever and I think that's something that my teammates and coaches know about me that I'm going to try to give them everything I got no matter what."

Tim Thomas ranked one of top 40 goalies on very weird list

Tim Thomas ranked one of top 40 goalies on very weird list

The NHL Network is terrific. Its programming is the best of any of the four major sports leagues’ channels, its talent is outstanding and it shows a lot of cool games across various leagues.  

Players mess up though. 

In the network’s recently released ranking of the 40 best goaltenders of all time, the Bruins were well-represented, but so too was insanity. We’re talking Jonathan Quick in the top 20 (No. 16!), Marc-Andre Fleury top 25 (No. 21!) and Corey Crawford top 30 (No. 26!). Those are just a few of the head-scratchers. 

Tim Thomas was one of seven Bruins on the list, coming in at No. 27. Other Bruins ranked were Bernie Parent (No. 12), Frank Brimsek (No. 23), Rogie Vachon (No. 25), Tiny Thompson (No. 28), Gerry Cheevers (No. 29), Andy Moog (No. 36). Here's the full list, per Mark Lazerus. 

Statistically, Tuukka Rask deserves a place on this list if Fleury and Crawford are going to be that high, but we’ll save the Rask arguments for literally every other second of my life. 

[OK, real quick: Rask has the highest career save percentage of all time. Quick sits No. 17 and Fleury is 32nd. This doesn’t need to be completely statistics based, but it also shouldn’t be completely how-many-Cup-teams-were-on-based. Honestly, I can’t tell what this list is based on at all. Like Cristobal Huet had a better career save percentage than Fleury has.]

Anyway, everyone else hated the list, too.