With Cash out, Sox call up Saltalamacchia

With Cash out, Sox call up Saltalamacchia

TORONTO -- The Red Sox viewed Jarrod Saltalamacchia as a long-term option behind the plate when they acquired him from the Rangers on July 31. The catcher entered the team's short-term focus as well on Wednesday, when he was promoted from Triple-A Pawtucket.

To make room for the switch-hitting Saltalamacchia on the roster, Boston placed Kevin Cash on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain that he sustained on Sunday night at Yankee Stadium.

Saltalamacchia, who will serve as Victor Martinez's backup until Jason Varitek (fractured right foot) returns to the mix, is expected to start Thursday afternoon's game against the Blue Jays.

"I'm excited," Saltalamacchia said. "You don't get this opportunity too often. Not too many people get to the big leagues as it is, but to play for a team like Boston, and the legacy here -- I'm just excited, ready to go."

The Red Sox had been linked to Saltalamacchia for some time, both in internal trade discussions and on the rumor mill.

"This is a kid that, his name has come up for what, two years? It's pretty exciting," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "Hopefully short-term it's real exciting, but I think long-term also. Again, we haven't seen him play. We got some really good reports from our player development people. They're usually right on the money. He'll spend a lot of time, obviously, with [catching instructor] Gary Tuck, which is good. We'll just kind of see how it goes."

For Saltalamacchia, who had a hard time living up to the hype in Texas, it was a thrill to officially start a new chapter.

"I've had some up-and-down years," Saltalamacchia said. "I didn't know what to expect, but when I heard the news [on July 31], obviously I was excited and thrilled to come over here, just to get the opportunity to kind of remake myself, you know? I had some bad years with Texas. It was all on me. It was just one of those things where I had to go out and prove myself, and I didn't quite do what I know I'm capable of doing, so I'm ready to do it over here."

Saltalamacchia was the Rangers' Opening Day catcher and he was to be their regular backstop this season, but that lasted all of two games before he was placed on the disabled list with stiffness in his upper back and shoulder. He went to Triple-A Oklahoma City and dealt with significant throwing problems, in which he was having a hard time getting the ball back to the pitcher accurately.

But Saltalamacchia worked out those issues and came up with some new timing mechanisms, and he appears to be back on track.

"It's been good," Saltalamacchia said. "It's been good for about four or five months now. I came down, and that was a big step. I had to get over that. It's something that I did, and I got over it, and I'm ready to go."

In 240 games in the Majors, the 25-year-old Saltalamacchia batted .251 with 23 homers and 94 RBIs.

Varitek, Boston's captain and backup catcher, is a couple of weeks away from returning to active duty. Varitek broke his right foot on June 30.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.