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.''

Sandoval 'starting from scratch' after career had 'fallen into an abyss'

Sandoval 'starting from scratch' after career had 'fallen into an abyss'

The Pablo Sandoval redemption tour is underway as the former World Series MVP tries to revive his career after two disastrous seasons with the Red Sox organization.

In an interview with ESPN Deportes, he admits to being “complacent” during his first two seasons in Boston after signing a five-year, $95 million deal. 

"My career had fallen into an abyss because I was so complacent with things that I had already accomplished," Sandoval said. "I did not work hard in order to achieve more and to remain at the level of the player that I am and that I can be."

After dealing Travis Shaw to the Brewers, Sandoval is expected to be the Red Sox primary third baseman in 2017.

"I am not taking anything for granted," he said. "I am here to work hard. I'm not thinking about the position or not. I am starting from scratch, and I am here to show what I can do on the field."

The 30-year-old says he’s following a “really strict routine” this offseason, and it shows. In a recent photo, Sandoval appears noticeably thinner. Sandoval says his wife giving birth to “Baby Panda” has served as inspiration.

"Watching 'Baby Panda' grow up and that he gets the opportunity to see his father play in the majors for seven, eight more years, to get back to the success I had, that's my motivation every day," Sandoval said. "The people that I surround myself with now and my family, they are the key to my success. This has been a life lesson."

Tanguay: Could Red Sox ownership be going for it now, then sell the team?

Tanguay: Could Red Sox ownership be going for it now, then sell the team?

Could John Henry sell ownership of the Boston Red Sox anytime soon, or does he want to keep winning?  Shaughnessy, Merloni, and Tanguay debate.