Jarrod Saltalamacchia

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Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Jarrod Saltalamacchia on June 6, 2015.jpg
Saltalamacchia with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2015
Detroit Tigers
Born: (1985-05-02) May 2, 1985 (age 34)
West Palm Beach, Florida
Bats: Switch Throws: Right
MLB debut
May 2, 2007, for the Atlanta Braves
MLB statistics
(through 2015 season)
Batting average .240
Home runs 98
Runs batted in 343
Career highlights and awards

Jarrod Scott Saltalamacchia (/ˌsɒltələˈmɑːkiə/; born May 2, 1985), is an American professional baseball catcher for the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has previously played in MLB for the Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Miami Marlins, and Arizona Diamondbacks.

At 14 characters, his last name is the longest in Major League Baseball history.[1] Saltalamacchia is Italian for "jump over" (salta) "the thicket" (la macchia, Southern Italy dialectical term that refers to a kind of tall shrub). His nickname is Salty.[2]


Born in West Palm Beach, Florida, Saltalamacchia attended Royal Palm Beach High School in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, graduating in 2003. Saltalamacchia attended high school along with future Texas Rangers teammate Kason Gabbard, and the two were friends growing up. A standout, Saltalamacchia was a member of Team Florida USA and won gold with the team in the 2001 Junior Olympics.[3]

Baseball career

Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves selected Saltalamacchia in the first round (36 overall) of the 2003 Major League Baseball Draft.

In 2006, Saltalamacchia had a breakout season for the Class A Myrtle Beach Pelicans, where the switch-hitting slugger hit .314 with 35 doubles, 19 homers, and 81 runs batted in (RBIs) in 129 games. Saltalamacchia ranked 18th in Baseball America top 100 prospects in 2006, and 36th the following year.[4]

Saltalamacchia batting for the Atlanta Braves in 2007

In the 2007 season, Saltalamacchia started at catcher for the Double-A Mississippi Braves. In 22 games played, he belted 7 home runs with a batting average of .373.

On his 22nd birthday, he was called up to Atlanta to replace Brayan Peña on the roster and to fill in for Brian McCann, who re-injured his finger on May 1, 2007.[5] Saltalamacchia's call-up made him the new record-holder of the longest surname in Major League Baseball history, at 14 letters,[6] breaking the record set by William Van Landingham (or tying it, depending on whether one counts the space in the latter's surname).

On May 6, 2007, Saltalamacchia had the first hit of his major league career in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers. In the seventh inning, with two outs and two men on base, Saltalamacchia got his first RBI, which also drove in the winning run for the Braves. On May 27, 2007, Saltalamacchia hit his first major league home run, a solo shot off Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies. On June 26 in a start at first base, Saltalamacchia had his first multi-home run game. Both blasts came batting right-handed off Washington Nationals pitcher Mike Bacsik.

Because Saltalamacchia was "blocked" (by McCann, who was recently signed to a large contract with Atlanta), he was the subject of much trade speculation within baseball, and was traded to the Texas Rangers on July 31, 2007, with Elvis Andrus, Neftalí Feliz, Matt Harrison, and Beau Jones for first baseman Mark Teixeira and reliever Ron Mahay.

In 2007, Saltalamacchia batted .284 with 4 home runs and 12 RBIs in 47 games with Atlanta.

Texas Rangers

Upon joining the Rangers after being traded Saltalamacchia changed his number to 25. In his first game with the Rangers on August 1, 2007, Saltalamacchia started at first base and drove in two runs.

On August 22, 2007, Saltalamacchia had two home runs and seven RBIs in the historic 30–3 rout of the Baltimore Orioles.[7]

In 46 games with the Rangers in 2007, Saltamacchia batted .251, collecting 7 home runs and 21 RBIs.

On March 26, 2008, Saltalamacchia lost the starting catching job to Gerald Laird, and the Rangers chose to send him down to the minors to catch every day instead of sitting as the backup.[8] However, Saltalamacchia was soon called up on April 25, 2008.[9]

Saltalamacchia during his tenure with the Texas Rangers in 2009

After the Rangers signed free agent Andruw Jones, Saltalamacchia gave up his number 25 to Jones and selected the number 21.[10] On April 25, 2009, Saltalamacchia struck out in his 28th consecutive game played, setting a new MLB strikeout streak record for a position player (pitcher Bill Stoneman holds the all-time record with 37 games). Saltalamacchia's streak started on July 23, 2008.[11] Saltalamacchia suffered a shoulder injury on August 15, 2009 and was placed on the disabled list.

Saltalamacchia was placed on the disabled list after the second game of the 2010 season. On April 27, 2010, Saltalamacchia was removed from the DL and assigned to the Oklahoma City RedHawks.[12] He has struggled with throwing the ball back to the pitcher.

Boston Red Sox

Saltalamacchia was traded to the Boston Red Sox just before the Major League Baseball trading deadline on July 31, 2010. The Rangers received minor league prospects Chris McGuiness, Román Méndez, a player to be named later (Michael Thomas), and cash. He reported to the Pawtucket Red Sox of the Class AAA International League.[13][14] Saltalamacchia was called up on August 11 after Kevin Cash went on the disabled list needing surgery in his left thumb, in September 2010.[15][16]

In the 2011 season, Saltalamacchia was slated at the beginning of the year to be Boston's primary catcher with veteran Jason Varitek taking the role as the backup. Out of the gate, he struggled defensively and showed weakness in the batter's box.[17] However, he showed improvement at the plate as the season progressed, hitting .327 in the month of June. Despite his low average, Saltalamacchia showed decent power and finished out the year hitting .235/.288/.450 with 16 HR, and 56 RBIs in 103 games played.

Saltalamacchia playing for the Boston Red Sox in 2012

On January 15, 2012, Saltalamacchia avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, non-guaranteed contract worth $2.5 million with the Sox to be their starting catcher. Kelly Shoppach was his backup until being traded, making Ryan Lavarnway his backup catcher.[18]

On May 26, 2012, with one out in the ninth inning, Saltalamacchia hit a 2-run walk-off home run off of Fernando Rodney to beat the Tampa Bay Rays. As the season progressed, Saltalamacchia was moved to 1st base as manager Bobby Valentine gave Ryan Lavarnway a look as the team's starting catcher. Saltalamacchia finished the year batting .222/.288/.454 with 25 HR, and 59 RBIs in a career high 121 games played.

Saltalamacchia was the starting catcher in 2013 for the Red Sox, and David Ross and Ryan Lavarnway were his backups. He went 1-2 with 3 walks and a double on Opening Day against the Yankees. On October 13, 2013, Saltlamacchia hit a walk-off single, driving in Jonny Gomes to beat the Detroit Tigers 6-5 in the second game of the 2013 ALCS. Saltalamacchia was benched for the final three games of the 2013 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals in favor of David Ross following a series of defensive errors.[19]

Saltalamacchia appeared in 121 games in 2013 and hit .273/338/.466 with 14 home runs, 65 RBIs, 68 runs and 40 doubles, becoming the thirteenth different catcher ever to have 40 doubles in a season.[20]

Following the 2013 season, the Red Sox declined to offer Saltalamacchia a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent.[19]

Miami Marlins

On December 3, 2013, Saltalamacchia agreed to a three-year, $21 million contract with the Miami Marlins.[21] The deal was finalized on December 6.[22] He was designated for assignment by the Marlins on April 27, 2015, and released on May 5.[23][24]

Arizona Diamondbacks

Saltalamacchia playing for the Reno Aces, triple-A affiliates of the Diamondbacks, in 2015

On May 7, Saltalamacchia signed a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks.[25] After reporting to extended spring training and then playing for the Reno Aces for a week, the Diamondbacks promoted him to the major leagues to replace Tuffy Gosewisch, who suffered a season-ending knee injury, as their starting catcher.[26]

Detroit Tigers

On December 6, 2015, Saltalamacchia signed a one year major league contract with the Detroit Tigers for the league minimum salary. The Miami Marlins are still paying the bulk of Saltalamacchia's existing contract.[27]

Personal life

Saltalamacchia is a Christian. Saltalamacchia spoke about his faith concerning the Boston Marathon bombings saying, "Yeah, I want to get angry. Yeah, I want to do some hurtful things, but why? My ultimate goal, my ultimate life is for [Jesus] and that’s not His way. He wants me to forgive, so I’m going to forgive, because I’ll lay my life down for Him."[28]

Saltalamacchia and his former Rangers teammate, Kason Gabbard, were childhood friends. Both attended Royal Palm Beach High School and were traded to the Rangers from different teams on July 31, 2007.[29] They were nearly potential teammates once again when the Red Sox, having reacquired Gabbard in 2009, released him from their farm system into free agency on July 24, 2010, exactly one week before Saltalamacchia was traded to Boston.[30]

He is married to Ashley Saltalamacchia, a former gym teacher at his high school. They began dating a year after he graduated. She did not teach him while he was in high school.[31]


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