Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 9/14/13
BOSTON — It’s a good thing Jarrod Saltalamacchia rested his back last week. He tossed the team on it in Friday’s win. Saltalamacchia drilled a grand slam over the right field bullpens in the seventh inning to propel the Red Sox to an 8-4 victory over the Yankees. The blast was the latest highlight in what has been an excellent season for the veteran backstop. Saltalamacchia missed five games starting Sept. 3 because of a back issue. The Red Sox catcher said that it was something that had been bothering him for about a month and that he re-aggravated it during a series in Baltimore on Aug. 27-29. Saltalamacchia tried to grind through it, but he eventually decided that the best course of action was to get it checked out. “I tried to go through it for a week, but that last game [on Sept. 2] I felt like I wasn’t helping the team,” Saltalamacchia said. “I was doing stuff that I wasn’t used to doing and I didn’t want to hurt the team. We’ve worked too hard and have done too much, so I thought it was the right thing to try to get it looked at and just take a couple days off and get it ready so I can get back to where I was so I can help the team.” Saltalamacchia is certainly helping the team. He has shown improvement in all facets of the game since returning Sunday, and he now has home runs in back-to-back games, as he also went deep in Thursday’s loss to the Rays. “I think he got four or five days down that gave him a chance to get fresh and it’s shown up in his game,” manager John Farrell said following Friday’s win. “Whether it’s the transfer on his throws with which he’d been struggling. The freedom of the lower back has allowed that swing to play as we’ve seen before. He’s doing a hell of a job, but a little extra rest helped.” Saltalamacchia downplayed the impact that the rest had, saying that it helped his legs a little bit but that he was still exercising and working out his back during the five games he missed. Either way, he’s driving the ball with much more authority, adding yet another dimension to his much improved game. Saltalamacchia has 13 home runs in 437 plate appearances this season after hitting 25 long balls in 448 plate appearances last year. While that seems like a drastic drop-off, Salty is a far better all-around player this season than he was in 2012. Not only has he been fantastic at handling Boston’s pitching staff, but he has also had a much better approach at that plate. “I think last year I wasn’t trying to hit home runs, but I was trying to drive the ball, even with two strikes, Saltalamacchia said. “I think this year I’ve tried to take more pitches. I’m starting to learn the league a little better, learning how they’re trying to throw to me. I’m not swinging at so many bad pitches. That’s kind of what they were trying to do.” Saltalamacchia also added a double in Friday’s win, bringing his total to 36, which is three shy of the Red Sox’ single-season double record by a catcher. Carlton Fisk and Jason Varitek hit 39 doubles in 1978 and 1999, respectively. Salty’s average is up to .263 and his on-base percentage sits at .334. Both are respectable numbers for a catcher, and both are major improvements over his .222 and .288 marks from last season. The reasoning for the change may be due in large part to Salty’s new approach at the dish, but he also thinks it could be because he’s constantly involved this season. “I was DHing the last two months of the season last year. That’s not who I am. That’s not what I’m used to,” Saltalamacchia said. “I feel like when I catch I’m a better hitter and better contributor to the team. I think being able to catch and staying loose and being involved in the game helps me.” Saltalamacchia is slated to become a free agent after this season. The Red Sox still have work to do before that becomes an issue, but re-signing Salty could end up being a top priority. Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here. Filed under: Boston Red Sox, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ricky Doyle, Top Stories
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Auburn legend Bo Jackson using Heisman vote for Alabama star

Gronk: Tom Brady doesn't age, seems like he's in his 20s

Cam Newton says Greg Hardy was a 'great teammate'

Ohio State plans to end Mirror Lake jump tradition after death

WATCH: Jason Kidd ejected for swiping ball out of ref's hands

Brad Stevens: Celtics had 'real conversations' after loss to Hawks


Les Miles unsure about his future at LSU

Saban will not rule out Kenyan Drake for Iron Bowl

Andre Drummond responds to Khris Middleton saying he doesn’t like contact

Lacking Jazz: Why Utah’s offense has struggled this season

Magic to bench Victor Oladipo, start Channing Frye

10 unheralded NFL players set to make a major impact in Week 12

LeBron James, James Jones lead players-only meeting after loss

Brady: Few have more respect for Peyton Manning than me

WATCH: Marcus Foligno flips Carter Hutton

Blaine Gabbert was only person at his press conference

Report: Alabama DC Kirby Smart a front-runner for South Carolina job

Kristaps Porzingis really wants to meet Turtle from ‘Entourage’

Top storyline for each Week 12 NFL game

WATCH: Ref injures Yakupov's leg by pulling him down

Ryan Fitzpatrick shaves beard to ‘switch up the mojo’

Bedlam is bigger than ever, but which team will be better than ever?

5 outrageous predictions for Week 12 of the NFL season

How the Detroit Lions became the face of football on Thanksgiving Day

The 10 most disappointed fan bases of the 2015 college football season

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top storyline for each Week 12 NFL game

Top 10 matchups for Week 12 of the NFL season

The 10 most disappointed fan bases of the 2015 CFB season

Gronk: Takes mental toughness not to overeat on Thanksgiving

Blue Jays fans create website in effort to keep David Price

The five most overrated teams in the Week 13 coaches' poll

10 storylines for Week 13 of the college football season

Ranking the 10 best games of 2015 college football rivalry week

Examining the Mavericks' hot start

Johnny Bench(ed): Manziel demoted to third string

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker