We learned late last week that the only thing keeping Jarrod Saltalamacchia's red-hot bat in the minor leagues was his sudden and complete inability to throw the ball back to the pitcher's mound.
Now Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas is reporting that the exiled Texas Rangers catcher is taking all the steps necessary at Triple-A Oklahoma City to overcome his vexing problem. Saltalamacchia is currently seeking the help of noted sports psychologist Harvey Dorfman, and he's trying a couple of other interesting methods, too.
The first is a "timing mechanism," in which Salty twice taps his fingers on the ball in his catcher's mitt before returning it to the pitcher.
The second is a new grip on the ball that places his fingers closer together in a tighter position.
Wishing to cure himself of the same affliction that hampered guys like Mackey Sasser, Chuck Knoblauch and Rube Baker, Saltalamacchia says he can't ignore the problem any longer.
"At first I was like, 'Just leave me alone.' But it's out there and I have to deal with it. What's frustrating me the most is this is the only thing keeping me from being back in the big leagues. I'm hitting. I'm catching. The only one thing is a simple throw back to the pitcher.
"I think it's a mechanical and mental issue. Once your mechanics change and you don't have success, you think about it."
Durrett reports that the catcher still had some problems during Tuesday night's game, and who knows if or when Dorfman's help will start manifesting itself. Considering he's hitting .339 with three homers and nine RBIs in 19 Triple-A games, the Rangers' lineup has to hope that it's sooner rather than later.