BOSTON -- There are limited options to shake up the Red Sox lineups, but one might be reducing playing time for slumping catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
As was the case last year, Saltalamacchia is off to an extremely poor start. After a 1-for-4 game Friday, through the first 13 games, Saltalamacchia is batting just .103 (3-for-29).
A year ago, Saltalamacchia was under .200 for much of the first month and didn't get over the .200 level to stay until May 6.
Saltalamacchia has had some bad luck, too. In a pinch-hitting capacity Wednesday night, he lined a bullet to first which got turned into a game-ending double play. On Tuesday, he struck two balls to the warning track, but both resulted in flyouts.
But as Saltalamacchia himself acknowledged with a rueful smile: "It's way more than bad luck.''
After going hitless in his first three plate appearances, Saltalamacchia hit a ground ball single past Robinson Cano in the ninth for a single.
"I'll take that any day of the week,'' he said of his bleeder. "It's going to start to fall in. That's why it's an average. But for that ball to get through the hole, it felt like a big release. It relieved some pressure.''
Kelly Shoppach, the team's No. 2 catcher, has been spotted mostly against opposing lefties and is hitting .375 with a homer and three RBI.
But the real threat to Saltalamacchia's playing time -- and perhaps even his roster spot -- is Ryan Lavarnway.
Manager Bobby Valentine is a big Lavarnway booster and believes there's not much difference between Lavarnway and Saltalamacchia defensively.
Lavarnway is off to a decent start at Pawtucket, batting .267 with two homers and five RBI. He has a .400 OBP and a .422 slugging percentage. Over the last three games, he has six hits.
Though he's played parts of six seasons in the big leagues, Saltalamacchia has an option remaining, meaning the Red Sox could potentially send him to Triple A Pawtucket -- as they did earlier in the week with reliever Mark Melancon -- to work on things.