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.

Brown knows there's a lot he can learn from Celtics teammates

Brown knows there's a lot he can learn from Celtics teammates

WALTHAM, Mass. – It was the first official day of Jaylen Brown’s NBA education.

So like most youngsters on the first day of school, he wanted to make a favorable impression.

Showing up three-plus hours early? Yup. That’ll help. But punctuality will only take you so far.

As eager as he is to play, Brown is well aware that much of what he’ll be doing the first few days will be centered around learning.

“It’s a lot of stuff I have to learn,” Brown admitted in an interview with CSNNE.com. “We have a lot of experience on the floor. I want to be a sponge to these older guys as long as I am here. And keep adapting, keep growing every day in practice and get better.”

Having a steady thirst for improvement is an essential for any player coming into the NBA, but especially for a 19-year-old like Brown.

Avery Bradley was the 19th overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft and like Brown, he was just 19 years old coming into the league.

When I asked him what he wishes he knew as a rookie that he eventually learned over time, Bradley was succinct with his answer.

“Confidence,” he told CSNNE.com. “Just having more confidence. I wish I had more confidence in myself.”

Of course if you recall, Bradley spent his rookie season coming off the bench behind Ray Allen, one of the best shooting guards of his era who will someday wind up in the Naismith Hall of Fame.

There were others Bradley had to outperform just to get a shot at playing behind Ray Allen.

“There was Ray Allen, and Delonte West and Von Wafer,” said Bradley who added, “I was behind everybody and then we got Nate Robinson too.”

While the depth chart isn’t quite that deep for Brown, there’s no question he will have to hold his own and probably outplay a couple bodies in order to get a steady diet of playing time as a rookie.

“I love challenges,” Brown said. “This game is a beautiful game. I have a lot of people to compete and challenge me every day.  It’s exciting. I’m looking forward to the challenge and looking forward to coming out on top.”

Celtics forward/center Amir Johnson was 18 years old when the Detroit Pistons selected him straight out of high school in the second round of the 2005 NBA draft.

Johnson said he has been impressed with what he has seen from Brown the past couple of weeks during pick-up games and workouts.

And while it helps to have veterans around, Brown’s growth in this league will ultimately come down to how much he’s willing to listen and learn.

“If you’re a teen that wants to work and listen, sit back and be quiet,” Johnson told CSNNE.com. “I was that teen willing to listen and learn, willing to do whatever anybody told me to do. I listened to my veterans and my coaches, come in the gym early and stay late. I had a lot of help to get where I’m at today.”

That said, Brown will still have his naysayers who will focus on his youth, inexperience along with Boston’s depth as reasons for him to not do much early on his career.

Bradley knows a thing or two about that.

In Bradley’s second year with the Celtics he was in the starting lineup ahead of Allen which was one of many roles Bradley has been able to play surprisingly better than anticipated.

Bradley recalls how opposing players often think he is either shorter or doesn’t have as long a wingspan as they would expect.

“That plays to my advantage,” he said. “Everybody thinks I’m short or I’m not long. People are going to say the same thing about Jaylen. A lot of people think he can’t do this, can’t do that. That’s the part about this game I love; you can surprise people and that’s what I think he’s going to do.”