Saltalamacchia returns to lineup with a vengeance

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Saltalamacchia returns to lineup with a vengeance

PHILADELPHIA -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia wanted back into the lineup Saturday night in the worst way after suffering a laceration of the left ear that required stitches, so from a Philadelphia hospital, he texted manager Bobby Valentine.

"I'm good for tomorrow...plus, I'm due to hit a bomb,'' said Valentine, reading his catcher's text message from his phone after the Red Sox held off the Philadelphia Phillies, 7-5.

Saltalamaccchia was true to his word -- and then some.

Not only did he homer as promised, but he also added a single and double, driving in a run and scoring twice.

"Obviously, that was more meant as a joke than anything,'' said Saltalamacchia. "But I wanted to play and sometimes when you tell the manager you're going to hit a homer, he might put you in there.

"I wanted to make sure I got in the lineup.''

Saltalamacchia singled to lead off the second, and came around to score two batters later when Phillies' starter Joe Blanton dropped a throw while covering first.

In the fourth inning, after Will Middlebrooks had led off with a solo homer, Saltalamacchia followed with one of his own.

Finally, in the eighth, he began the eighth with a double to center before being advanced to third on a sacrifice and being cut down at the plate on a nice play by Jimmy Rollins.

"I felt good,'' he said. "I got cleared to play (Friday night), came in today, felt good. The ear didn't really bother me or affect me.''

Saltalamacchia continues to make the most of hits, too. Coming into Saturday night, he led all A.L. catchers in doubles and slugging percentage and was second in extra-base hits.

For the season, 16 of his 28 hits have gone for extra bases.

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.