Red Sox notes: Saltalamacchia signs; McDonald has surgery

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Red Sox notes: Saltalamacchia signs; McDonald has surgery

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Crossing one potential salary arbitration case off the books, the Red Sox Thursday reached agreement on a one-year contract with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Saltalamacchia signed a non-guaranteed split deal, which will pay him 750,000 in the major leagues and 250,000 in the minors.

Saltalamacchia was obtained from the Texas Rangers last July 31 and played 10 games with the Red Sox before being shut down in the final two weeks of the season because of a thumb injury. He underwent surgery in Cleveland on Sept. 28 and is expected to be fully recovered by spring training.

With both Jason Varitek and Victor Martinez eligible for free agency and Kevin Cash outrighted last week, Saltalamacchia is the only catcher on the team's 40-man roster with significant major-league experience.

In limited playing time with the Red Sox in 2010, Saltalamacchia hit .158 with one RBI.

The remaining salary arbitration cases for the Sox: Closer Jonathan Papelbon, reliever Hideki Okajima and outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury.

It's widely expected Okajima will be offered a substantial reduction from his 2010 salary of 2.75 milion or be non-tendered altogether, leaving the Sox with just two salary arbitration cases.

Both Cash and lefty reliever Rich Hill would have been eligible for salary arbitration, too, before the Sox outrighted both players last week.

The Sox have an interest in working out a deal with Hill, though probably on a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training.

Outfielder Darnell McDonald underwent surgery on his right thumb Wednesday to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

The procedure was performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Phoenix. McDonald is expected to begin his rehab in a few weeks.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

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Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.

The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Infielder Marco Hernandez may make the Red Sox roster after all.

Fellow infielder Josh Rutledge, the presumptive 25th man on the Red Sox, suffered a left hamstring strain on Tuesday against the Pirates, according to reporters in Florida, including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.

If Rutledge isn’t ready for opening day, Hernandez, a left-handed hitter, may have his crack. 

The question is whether the Sox would be comfortable without a right-handed bat to complement both Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland on the corners. Rutledge was going to give the Sox that right-handed look they sought. (When Hanley Ramirez's shoulder will be healthy enough to play first base is unclear, but isn't expected to be too long.)

Neither Rutledge nor Hernandez has played first base in the majors or minors.

A big-league rookie last year, Hernandez has done decently against lefties at the upper levels of the minors, hitting .328 vs. them at Triple-A Pawtucket last season in 67 at-bats. He hit .315 in 54 at-bats at Pawtucket, with a .318 average against them that season in 88 at-bats for Double-A Portland.

Rutledge is a Rule 5 draft pick who has to remain on the major league 25-man roster the whole season or the Sox risk losing him. Placement on the disabled list doesn’t affect his status unless he’s on the disabled list for a very lengthy time.

An alternative option is Steve Selsky, who has first-base experience, but he's already been optioned.