FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be given every opportunity this spring to get to know the pitching staff.
Saltalamacchia played five innings and caught starter Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz and Hideki Okajima. Red Sox manager Terry Francona said after Sunday’s 8-4 loss to the Twins that he’s hoping to see that synergy form sooner rather than later.
“We would like to. That’s a big part of it. That’s why we left Salty in there for Okajima,” Francona said. “It’s a fine line, it’s the first game and we don’t want to run Salty out there for nine, but we'd certainly like to have him get to know those guys as much as he can.”
The Red Sox see Salty as their catcher of the future and they’re going to lean on veteran Jason Varitek to help him along.
“He’s going to be fine, and he’s got a great guy to follow in Tek,” Beckett said.
“He’s a big target,” he said. “We’ve got two catchers this year who are huge targets. It’s easier to throw to a guy who’s wider than the plate. He can call a game and knows what he’s doing and that’s what it takes to be good catcher from my point of view. He’s doing a really good job.”
Saltalamacchia said he feels comfortable at this point of camp as he did a lot of prep work even before he arrived.
“In spring training it’s about getting ready for the season,” he said. “You’re out there trying to get into a groove and get things consistent.”