FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jarrod Saltalamacchia caught five innings against the Twins last night, about two more than usual for the first game of spring training.
But after Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz each threw two innings, Terry Francona wanted Saltalamacchia to stay in and catch Hideki Okajima.
"Bring it on," Salty said this morning. "I'm a little sore this morning but I felt great last night. I think I caught Oki once last year, so I need to work with him."
The Red Sox are alternating Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek for the first four games with the other catchers in camp mixing in behind them. While the Sox have a lot of faith that the Salty/Tel combo will work out, one thing they need to do this spring is identify whether there are any minor leaguers who could be useful this season.
Mark Wagner and Luis Exposito will be the tandem in Pawtucket with Ryan Lavarnway and Tim Federowicz like likely combo in Portland. The team also signed veteran Paul Hoover.
Meanwhile, it has been fairly obvious for a few months now that the Red Sox want to use Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Carl Crawford as the top three hitters in their order. So it's no surprise they're in the first three spots today.