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Saltalamacchia and Lavarnway might both stay with Red Sox

The SportsXchange

Boston Red Sox pitchers and catchers will report to spring training Feb. 10.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway may be among them.

Two months ago, after the Sox signed veteran backup catcher David Ross, it was widely presumed they would trade either Saltalamacchia or Lavarnway to address an area of greater need, namely starting pitching.

But no deal has been made, even as top free-agent catching options Russell Martin and A.J. Pierzynski came off the market, and one major-league source told the Boston Herald the Red Sox have indicated "no plans to move a catcher at this time."

If the Sox don't make a trade, Lavarnway likely will open the season at Triple-A, even though he has nothing left to prove offensively at that level and demonstrated improvement behind the plate last season. But the 25-year-old still can be sent to the minors without being exposed to waivers. He batted only .157 with two homers, 12 RBI and a .459 OPS in 153 at-bats after being called up last year.

Saltalamacchia, a 27-year-old switch-hitter, figured to have some trade value after hitting a career-high 25 homers last year. But while Lavarnway is under team control through 2018, Saltalamacchia is eligible for free agency after this season, which may be diminishing his market. He also struck out 139 times in 405 at-bats and posted a .288 on-base percentage last season, and he has a spotty reputation defensively.

Ross, who turns 36 in March, is regarded as a skilled defender and game-caller. But he profiles as a backup catcher, having not started more than 47 games in a season since 2007.

One possibility that has not yet been broached: Playing any of the catchers at a different position, specifically first base, where they have yet to finalize a contract with free agent target Mike Napoli.
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