Salty approaching Fisk's record

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Salty approaching Fisk's record

OAKLAND -- Even as he splits playing time with Ryan Lavarnway, Jarrod Saltalamacchia is nearing a Red Sox franchise record.

Saltalamacchia entered Saturday's game with 23 homers, second-most among major league catchers. And Saltalmacchia is just three homers away from tying Hall of Famer Carlton Fisk's franchise mark for most homers in a season by a catcher.

Fisk hit 26 in 1973, his second full season with the Sox. Jason Varitek hit 25 in 2003, the second-best homer season for a Sox receiver.

Saltalamacchia entered Saturday with two homers in his last three games and three in his last eight. That shouldn't come as a surprise since Saltalamacchia is a notoriously streaky hitter.

He hit three homers in three games in late April then belted five home runs in the span of 10 games in late May. Finally, in late June into early July, he had his biggest concentrated power surge with five homers in 10 games.

A switch-hitter, Saltalamacchia has hit 22 of his 23 homers from the left side. For the season, Saltalmacchia has a .490 slugging percentage and a .780 OPS against righthanders, but is slugging just .341 with a .596 OPS against lefties.

A report by WEEI.com Saturday had David Ortiz likely through for the remainder of the season. Ortiz has played just one game since July 16 thanks to a strained Achilles heel.

After coming off the DL late last month, he returned there several days later and received a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection late last week and didn't accompany the team on its West Coast trip.

When asked about Ortiz rejoining the team on the trip Friday, manager Bobby Valentine ruled out the DH coming to Oakland, saying the training staff advised against flying so soon after the injection. Valentine hinted that it was possible, however, for Ortiz to come to Seattle, where the Sox play road games Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before returning home.

On Saturday, Valentine seemed bored or annoyed by questions about Ortiz's possible return.

"God...I don't know,'' sighed Valentine. "I haven't heard anything about that. I think he's going to try (to play again). That's the last I heard. It's old news.''

Pedro Martinez to WEEI: Ortiz will make comeback this season

Pedro Martinez to WEEI: Ortiz will make comeback this season

Never say never?

While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.

CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season. 

For the full interview with Martinez, click here.

Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired. 

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”