McAdam: Salty's roster spot could be in danger

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McAdam: Salty's roster spot could be in danger

BOSTON -- There are limited options to shake up the Red Sox lineups, but one might be reducing playing time for slumping catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

As was the case last year, Saltalamacchia is off to an extremely poor start. After a 1-for-4 game Friday, through the first 13 games, Saltalamacchia is batting just .103 (3-for-29).

A year ago, Saltalamacchia was under .200 for much of the first month and didn't get over the .200 level to stay until May 6.

Saltalamacchia has had some bad luck, too. In a pinch-hitting capacity Wednesday night, he lined a bullet to first which got turned into a game-ending double play. On Tuesday, he struck two balls to the warning track, but both resulted in flyouts.

But as Saltalamacchia himself acknowledged with a rueful smile: "It's way more than bad luck.''

After going hitless in his first three plate appearances, Saltalamacchia hit a ground ball single past Robinson Cano in the ninth for a single.

"I'll take that any day of the week,'' he said of his bleeder. "It's going to start to fall in. That's why it's an average. But for that ball to get through the hole, it felt like a big release. It relieved some pressure.''

Kelly Shoppach, the team's No. 2 catcher, has been spotted mostly against opposing lefties and is hitting .375 with a homer and three RBI.

But the real threat to Saltalamacchia's playing time -- and perhaps even his roster spot -- is Ryan Lavarnway.

Manager Bobby Valentine is a big Lavarnway booster and believes there's not much difference between Lavarnway and Saltalamacchia defensively.

Lavarnway is off to a decent start at Pawtucket, batting .267 with two homers and five RBI. He has a .400 OBP and a .422 slugging percentage. Over the last three games, he has six hits.

Though he's played parts of six seasons in the big leagues, Saltalamacchia has an option remaining, meaning the Red Sox could potentially send him to Triple A Pawtucket -- as they did earlier in the week with reliever Mark Melancon -- to work on things.

Report: Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

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Report: Ehrhoff signs a PTO with the B's after World Cup

The Bruins will add another veteran defenseman to their training camp group fresh off the World Cup of Hockey as German D-man Christian Ehrhoff is headed to Boston on a PTO (professional tryout agreement), according to a report from TSN Insider Bob McKenzie.

https://twitter.com/TSNBobMcKenzie/status/781985885420154881

The 34-year-old Ehrhoff had three assists in six World Cup games for Team Europe, and had two goals and 10 points in 48 games for the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks last season while clearly starting to slow down a bit. He’s clearly no longer the player that averaged 14 goals and 47 points for the Vancouver Canucks from 2009-2011, and is another left-shot defenseman to add to a team that already has Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug.

But it behooved the Bruins to bring in at least one “name” veteran D-man on a tryout basis during this training camp with so many needs for upgrades on the back end, and with a host of young players that might not be ready for prime time. This might also be a warning sign for young veteran Joe Morrow, a left shot D-man that has struggled a bit in training camp after coming off an erratic first full season at the NHL level.

Clearly the Bruins need more than Ehrhoff, however, even if he’s somehow re-energized with the Bruins after playing pretty well in the World Cup. The Kings were down enough on his game to put him through waivers last season, but he was a top-4 defenseman for the previous eight seasons for San Jose, Vancouver, Buffalo and Pittsburgh prior to getting bounced around between the Kings and Blackhawks last season.

The added bonus with taking a look at Ehrhoff is that there’s no risk associated with a PTO, and the Bruins can simply walk away with no cost if the B’s coaching staff decides he’s not a good fit for the group in Boston. On the other hand, bringing in a Kris Russell-type would cost a great deal in terms of money and term in a free agent contract, and it might not benefit the Black and Gold club in the end result.