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.''