Saltalamacchia finds comfort zone

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Saltalamacchia finds comfort zone

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

DETROIT - As it was for his team, the season got off to a difficult start for Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Going 2-for-4 on the last day of April pulled his average for the month above .200, to .216. Still, he had more strikeouts than hits for the month, 16 to 11. Of his 11 hits, just three were for extra bases, all doubles.

Appointed the Red Sox primary catcher in the offseason, the adjustment behind the plate also was not easy.

"This is such a huge position," said manager Terry Francona. "Things were going kind of quick for him. And I think it's slowed down for him. Jason Varitek has taken a little bit off his plate, which has helped."

In May, Saltalamacchia has started to find a comfort zone. He is hitting .265 for the month, with 13 hits to 10 strikeouts, three doubles and four home runs. He is batting .240 for the season, with four home runs, and 15 RBI. His numbers are not where he would like them to be, but they're moving in the right direction.

"I feel more comfortable," Saltalamacchia said. "I think for the first time in a long time right-handed, started tracking the ball better. Not swinging at bad pitches. Every once in a while you're going to, but I've been seeing the ball real well.

"Me and hitting coach Dave Magadan have been working since spring training but things started to get locked in a little bit when we had that talk. I've been hitting the ball just never had anything to show for it. I get to bat righty maybe once a week. You hit two balls out of three hard but there's no hits. But I think it's been starting to fall in now. I was hitting the ball hard to right, hitting the ball off the wall. But just little things like that trying to see the ball better."

Right-handed, he's hitting .233 (7-for-30) with two home runs and five RBI. As a lefty he's hitting .243 (17-for-70) with two home runs and 10 RBI.

"Right's been my dominant side so I've never really worked more on the right or more on the left, "he said. "But since I struggled from the right side more because I only get a few at-bats, got to do more. But we got a good routine going. Do a little tee work and flips. Just little things that Mags gives me to trigger me in when game time comes."

Saltalamacchia and Magadan had their talk early in April, during the first homestand. The Sox returned from their season-opening road trip 0-6. Saltalamacchia had just one hit in 14 at-bats, with one RBI, one walk, and six strikeouts. The talk with Magadan helped.

"I started off bad," Saltalamacchia said. "I was starting to hit everything out in front, pull everything. We had that talk and talked to him, Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, all of them. And they said the same thing: 'You're a great hitter' which is something I never really heard before. I always just thought about my catching. So, just that little boost of confidence obviously felt good."

And that little boost of confidence can make a big difference.

"Yeah, and it goes into getting some hits," Saltalamacchia said. "You get some hits, you start getting a little more confident. They roll into each other."

MaureenMullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Buckley: Can we expect Buchholz to be placed on DL soon?

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Buckley: Can we expect Buchholz to be placed on DL soon?

Steve Buckley joins Arbella Early Edition to give his opinion on whether or not he thinks the Red Sox will place Clay Buchholz on the disabled list soon, and if not whether he will lose his spot in the rotation.

Red Sox injury updates: Holt, Rodriguez returns still uncertain

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Red Sox injury updates: Holt, Rodriguez returns still uncertain

BOSTON -- The return dates for both Eduardo Rodriguez and Brock Holt remain uncertain.

Holt visited with concussion specialist Micky Collins in Pittsburgh the last two days and is returning to Boston Tuesday night.

The Red Sox placed him on the seven-day DL last week when he began experiencing symptoms associated with a mild concussion, following an incident on the last homestand when he went to dive for a ball at second and felt some whiplash in the neck.

"He went through a battery of tests in Pittsburgh,'' said John Farrell. "After a full workup with Micky there, we feel like there's a very detailed plan in place. He'll begin some general conditioning when he gets back. He's still dealing with some symptoms, minor as they might be, and in the coming days, baseball activity will start. [But] we're going to miss him for a little bit.''

Holt clearly won't be ready to return this week.

"He's going to need some time to get back to game speed for us,'' confirmed Farrell. "But we don't feel like this is a real long-term type of scenario.''

As for Rodriguez, the question of a return date to the major-league rotation remains something of an open question.

"He came out of last night's start in pretty good shape,'' reported Farrell of Rodriguez's seven-inning, one-run performance for Pawtucket on Tuesday. "He's set to throw his bullpen [Thursday] and right now tentatively set (to pitch) for Pawtucket on Sunday, but we obviously have the ability to adjust if needed or if we choose to do so.

"I don't know that we're there to say where it's definitively going to be next. Over the coming few days, we'll certainly map them out with Eduardo first and foremost. If it's (with the big-league club), it obviously won't be until early next week at the [earliest]. We're still working through some things on that.''