There are dozens of great Italian restaurants in Providence and R.I. Federal Hill is as good as any Italian section in any other city in the country. If Jarrod Saltalamacchia has the type of impact the Red Sox are hoping for, you may be able to walk into Camilles’ or Casserinos’ and order “Veal Saltalamacchia”. “Pasta Jarrod” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Got a note from “cahatfield” after my last entry that has me rethinking my choice for best name. They point out that Red Sox farmhand Seth Schwindenhammer’s name is German for “swing the hammer”, and if he ever makes the Big Leagues, he will oust Saltalamacchia, as the player with the longest last name in history, with 15 letters. Shoot for the stars!!
“Salty” isn’t too worried about last names these days. He is just trying to get his feet back on the ground after being traded to Boston from Texas. “I was a little surprised. My name wasn’t out there. I found out about an hour after the deadline, so that was even more of a surprise to me. They called me in, told me I got traded and had to report as soon as possible. It’s exciting.” The 25 year old catcher says he wasn’t necessarily looking to be moved, but welcomes the deal. “I guess the organization felt it’s a better opportunity for me over here. They made the trade and I’m glad they did. That’s all I ever really wanted, was an opportunity. I had a great time over there in Texas and I want to have a great time while I’m here.”
It seems that the switch-hitter has been high on Theo Epsteins’ wish list for quite a while. Jarrod says it’s nice to be wanted. “For an organization with the legacy they have here and what they’ve done…It’s just a pleasure and an honor to be here. Add to the fact that they really wanted me, it makes it that much more special.”
Saltalamacchia says that he is ready for his journey. He doesn’t expect anything to be handed to him. No promises were made. He is ready to earn a spot with Boston. “ Just get to Pawtucket, get acclimated, get your feet wet. I don’t know exactly what they have in mind yet, but whatever they want me to do, I’ll do. I hope to have a long career here.”
The knock on Saltalamacchia lately was that he had the “yips”. The inability to throw the ball back to the pitcher. Not fun if you are a catcher. According to him, it was a physical problem, that got into his head. “It was a tough year. It started with the surgery. It takes a while to heal. I tried to come back from it too soon. I wanted to get back for Spring Training and it obviously wasn’t the right thing to do. Once I realized it was a physical thing thing and not a mental thing, my morale went way up. It was a life lesson and I think I am stronger for it.” The injury and following surgery would have made Cher proud. Jarrod had to have a rib removed. “The nerve and the blood vessels were going down my arm and the rib was impinging my ability. It caused me to not have any feeling in my hand and arm, which in turn caused the throwing issues and the tiredness my arm felt after a game. They removed the top rib, a small rib and that created some ‘flow’. Luckily we caught it in time and it didn’t cause any nerve damage.”
Getting back to his 14 letter moniker, Saltalamacchia says he has modified it for autograph purposes. “It’s a simple autograph, short and sweet. It’s something everybody talks about. I’m proud of my last name. It’s special. I’ve obviously had it with me a long time. I’m just glad people know me.” Let’s hope we get to know Jarrod Saltalamacchia much much better. And keep an eye out for Seth Schwindenhammer.