Jarrod Saltalamacchia(notes) has absolutely destroyed the pitching he's seen so far at Triple-A. He's batting .343 in 18 games for Oklahoma City with five doubles, three homers, and an on-base percentage of .400.
You might recall that Saltalamacchia began the year as the Texas Rangers starting catcher, then hit the disabled list with a back injury just two games into the season. Considering the current state of the catching position in Arlington (Matt Treanor(notes) is hitting .209), you'd think that Saltalamacchia would be welcomed back.
His bat is ready, but the rest of him isn't. Saltalamacchia is struggling with his throws — not his across-the-diamond throws to second base, but his 60-foot tosses to the pitcher's mound.
In Salty's last game, Tuesday night at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark, 12 of his throws back to the pitcher landed either short of the mound or in center field. He had five errant throws in the first inning alone.
"He's just got to keep playing until he gets it right," RedHawks manager Bobby Jones said. "I don't know what else to do. It's a shame. It's definitely what's keeping him here. He's blocking the ball well and swinging the bat well. He's just got to figure it out. It's a shame."
Saltalamacchia said, "Everything feels good. My throws have been good down to second. We've been working on different arm angles, getting on top of the ball more rather than getting on the side. So everything's going smoothly and we'll see where it goes."
Yikes. He's talking about "getting on top of the ball more" on his throws to the pitcher. That's messy. It sounds like this isn't a physical problem since he's apparently making in-game throws that have a much higher degree of difficulty. Here's hoping he can beat the issue quickly, before it develops into something like the Mackey Sasser situation. Saltalamacchia is a serious talent, but this is clearly an affliction that a catcher can't live with.
(For the record: Yahoo! Answers has already resolved this problem. Always consult the Internet before changing your arm angle).
Photo via US Presswire