ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers manager Ron Washington sees a different Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the plate than the one he remembers from 2009 and early 2010.
"He looks confident," Washington said. "He looks like he's over his throwing woes. He made a good throw to third. I watched his throws down to second base and they are all crisp and sharp. He's getting the ball back to the pitcher. He seems to be happy."
That about sums it up. I remember going to Oklahoma City last year and seeing Saltalamacchia fight a case of the yips, though he never really called it that. He was double-clutching to help himself throw the ball back to the pitcher and a few balls were very offline, including one right at the shortstop. He said then that he had picked up some bad habits because he wasn't happy and in turn had to get his mechanics and his mind right. It looks like he has.
"I wasn't really healthy until this offseason, and I was able to work out and do everything," said Saltalamacchia, who had a walkoff single on Opening Day 2010 and then went on the DL and was eventually traded to Boston at the deadline. "It's been great."
Saltalamacchia appears to have benefited from playing for a new organization. He's hitting .244 with 12 homers and 41 RBIs. He has caught 21 basestealers, including 11 of the last 28.
"I didn't think I was going to get an opportunity in Texas, so that's the only reason I wanted a fresh start somewhere," Saltalamacchia said. "I was able to start fresh."
Saltalmacchia was quick to credit veteran Boston catcher Jason Varitek for helping him deal with the grind of a season.
"He's been there when I've needed him," Saltalamacchia said. "Playing in the AL East has been a change for me, but I've enjoyed it."