Saltalamacchia returns to lineup with a vengeance

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Saltalamacchia returns to lineup with a vengeance

PHILADELPHIA -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia wanted back into the lineup Saturday night in the worst way after suffering a laceration of the left ear that required stitches, so from a Philadelphia hospital, he texted manager Bobby Valentine.

"I'm good for tomorrow...plus, I'm due to hit a bomb,'' said Valentine, reading his catcher's text message from his phone after the Red Sox held off the Philadelphia Phillies, 7-5.

Saltalamaccchia was true to his word -- and then some.

Not only did he homer as promised, but he also added a single and double, driving in a run and scoring twice.

"Obviously, that was more meant as a joke than anything,'' said Saltalamacchia. "But I wanted to play and sometimes when you tell the manager you're going to hit a homer, he might put you in there.

"I wanted to make sure I got in the lineup.''

Saltalamacchia singled to lead off the second, and came around to score two batters later when Phillies' starter Joe Blanton dropped a throw while covering first.

In the fourth inning, after Will Middlebrooks had led off with a solo homer, Saltalamacchia followed with one of his own.

Finally, in the eighth, he began the eighth with a double to center before being advanced to third on a sacrifice and being cut down at the plate on a nice play by Jimmy Rollins.

"I felt good,'' he said. "I got cleared to play (Friday night), came in today, felt good. The ear didn't really bother me or affect me.''

Saltalamacchia continues to make the most of hits, too. Coming into Saturday night, he led all A.L. catchers in doubles and slugging percentage and was second in extra-base hits.

For the season, 16 of his 28 hits have gone for extra bases.

After strong bullpen session, Koji Uehara could be back by Labor Day

After strong bullpen session, Koji Uehara could be back by Labor Day

BOSTON - For a bullpen that could use all the help it can get right now, there's the prospect that Koji Uehara could rejoin the Red Sox on Labor Day.

Uehara, who's been out since July 20 with a strained pectoral muscle, threw a bullpen Monday at Fenway that impressed John Farrell.

"He came out of today's work session in good fashion,'' said Farrell. "It was 25 pitches to hitters with good intensity to both his fastball and split. It's been impressive to see how he's handled the volume, and now, three times on the mound, the intensity to his bullpens and BP.''

Next up for Uehara will be a bullpen session Wednesday morning, followed by a live batting practice session Saturday in Oakland.

Since both Pawtucket's and Portland's seasons are over on Labor Day, Uehara won't have the option of going on a rehab assignment to face hitters before being activated.

But the Sox believe that he can build arm strength through these side sessions and BP sessions -- enough so that he could return to the active roster soon.

"We'll re-assess where is after Sunday,'' said Farrell, "and I wouldn't rule out activation [after that]. What we've done with Koji is just review how he feels after each session and we'll take it from there.''

Uehara, 41, is 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA, and while he's had a propensity for giving up homers (eight in just 36 innings), he had been throwing better before being injured.

And given the performance of the bullpen in general and the recent poor showings from Matt Barnes, the Sox would welcome Uehara back as soon as he's ready.

"The one thing that Koji has proven to us,'' noted Farrell, "is that, even with limited spring training work [in the past], he's been a very effective pitcher for us and obviously, he has a chance to make a very positive impact once he does return.''

Uehara's progress since late July has been a pleasant surprise for the Sox, who feared at the time of the injury that he might be done for the season.     

"To his credit,'' said Farrell, "he's worked his tail off and advanced fairly rapidly and he's withstanding the intensity that he's put into [the work]. A healthy Koji certainly adds to our bullpen.

 

Red Sox among ‘roughly half’ of MLB who’ll attend Tebow workout Tuesday

Red Sox among ‘roughly half’ of MLB who’ll attend Tebow workout Tuesday

Maybe Tim Tebow could be the eighth-inning guy? 

OK, OK. Maybe not. Still, the Red Sox will be among the “roughly half” of the MLB teams who will attend the former Heisman Trophy winner and Patriots’ 2013 training camp phenomenon’s baseball tryout on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Tebow is 29 and hasn’t played organized baseball since he was a junior in high school. He was an All-State performer in Florida back then.

Based on his accuracy and mechanics throwing a football, maybe DH would suit Tebow better than the mound.