ARLINGTON, Texas -- He hasn't helped the Red Sox win any games of late, but there is at least some small consolation that catcher Jarrod Salatalamacchia has rediscovered his stroke at the plate.
Saltalamacchia homered Saturday in the Red Sox' loss to Toronto at Fenway, then, Monday night, added another homer and just missed another with a double high off the wall in the Sox' 9-1 shelling by the Texas Rangers.
Before Saturday, Saltalamacchia's strikeouts had been piling up and he had hit just .132 from June 22 through July 20. In that span, Saltalamacchia had 31 strikeouts in 68 at-bats and compiled a meager .512 OPS.
Now, however, he thinks he's corrected the problem.
"I feel comfortable," declared Saltalamacchia. "I feel good. I'm not missing any pitches. I'm getting the pitch up and driving it, which is something I did in the first half. If I can continue that stretch and start swinging at better pitches like (Monday) night, then I'll be OK.
"It's just a timing thing. When you're timing's off, you miss your fastball and swing at bad pitches. My timing was off and I didn't feel comfortable and I wasn't getting ready, so I was just swinging at whatever they threw. Where, now I feel the timing's a little better and I'm starting to get pitches up in the zone and I'm hitting them."
Pablo Sandoval hit his fourth home run of the spring and Rusney Castillo had three hits to lead a Red Sox split squad to a 7-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday in Port Charlotte, Fla.
Sandoval, who has won back his third base job after missing nearly all of last season following surgery on his left shoulder, connected for a three-run shot, batting right-handed, against Rays starter Ian Snell in the fifth inning. The switch-hitting Sandoval had abandoned hitting right-handed in 2015, his last full season with the Red Sox.
He's hitting .353 this spring with a 1.051 OPS and 19 RBI.
Castillo, the Cuban outfielder signed to a seven-year, $72 million deal late in 2014 but again likely headed for Triple-A Pawtucket, went 3-for-4 and is hitting .368 this spring. Catcher Blake Swihart, also probably Pawtucket-bound, had two hits and is hitting .325.
Kyle Kendrick strengthened his bid for a spot in the rotation by allowing two runs in six innings and striking out six and Jackie Bradley homered as a Red Sox split squad played to a 3-3 tie with the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla.
Kendrick, 32, a non-roster invitee to spring training, allowed eight hits and a walk in his sixth start this spring. He's been the Red Sox best starter with an ERA of 2.17.
With David Price out until May and lefty Drew Pomeranz still a question mark, Kendrick could find his way into the rotation behind Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez.
Bradley went 2-for-3 with his third homer of the spring. He's hitting .244 in spring training games.
The Phillies pushed across the tying run in the ninth off lefty reliever Robby Scott, the first run he's allowed this spring in 10 innings.
The Minnesota Twins host the Red Sox on Sunday at 1:05 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.