With some Senior Circuit seasoning, Salty set to shine

After tough transition to NL, ex-Boston catcher ready to rebound in Year 2 in Miami

With some Senior Circuit seasoning, Salty set to shine

JUPITER, Fla. -- Familiarity may ultimately breed success for Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

A year ago, the Marlins catcher went through the transition of switching from the American League to National League. The results weren't what the 29-year-old anticipated.

Saltalamacchia, who was part of the Red Sox 2013 World Series team, had his struggles at and behind the plate.

Outlook: Saltalamacchia, C, MIA

Offensively, his slash line was .220/.320/.362. He belted 11 home runs, had 20 doubles and drove in 44 runs, while also striking out 143 times in 373 at-bats.

Defensively, he also labored, committing 15 errors with six passed balls.

"He would say he didn't have a great year last year, but he's focused and ready to go and help us win ballgames," manager Mike Redmond said.

If Saltalamacchia can mirror the production he showed with Boston in 2013, he would provide a big boost to an improved Miami roster. During that title season, he hit .273/.338/.466 with 14 homers, 65 RBIs and 40 doubles.

"I think the toughest thing was different leagues," Saltalamacchia said. "You get so used to a certain league, where you know all the players, you know the teams, you know the philosophies. You know how they're going to play. You move to a different league and it's different."

Saltalamacchia signed a three-year, $21 million deal with Miami after the '13 season. A switch-hitter, he projects to be the club's most prolific power threat from the left side this year. Of his 11 homers last year, nine were off right-handed pitching.

Saltalamacchia and Jeff Mathis are projected to be the two catchers on the roster.

"He's a big presence, a big bat," Redmond said. "But most importantly, we need him to catch, to go out there and lead our pitching staff. We know he can hit. Last year might have been a little bit of a down year for him, but we're looking for him to respond and rebound and go out there and lead our pitching staff and get some big hits.

"I know he is way more comfortable. It is an adjustment. I remember going from the National League to the American League. It is a different brand of game, a different style."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.