Saltalamacchia returns to Red Sox's lineup

Saltalamacchia returns to Red Sox's lineup

BOSOTN -- After sitting out for three games with back spasms, Jarrod Saltalamacchia returned to the Red Sox's lineup for Wednesday night's game against the Yankees, batting sixth and catching.

"It's better than it was yesterday," said Saltalamacchia. "The doc said the other day he doesn't see it regressing at all if I go out and play. I've just got to keep it loose. It feels better, so I'm going to go with it."

Boston's lineup can certainly use Saltalamacchia's thump. The catcher has 23 homers this season.

"I think Salty is going to finish strong," said manager Bobby Valentine. "If we get his bat in the lineup, he's going to help us win some games."

Saltalamacchia thinks the injury is far more a case of wear and tear than any kind of chronic ailment.

"This is new," said Saltalamacchia. "As a catcher, you're always going to have knees and lower backs [aching]. I've had just soreness, never to this effect. It's nothing to be alarmed about. It's just the normal soreness, and the West Coast trip didn't help out."