Saltalamacchia nears return to D-backs

Catcher completes rehab assignment after neck injury

Saltalamacchia nears return to D-backs

PHOENIX -- D-backs catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia returned to the clubhouse on Saturday after playing two rehab games in the Arizona Rookie League, as he nears his return from a strained neck.

Saltalamacchia went 1-for-4 with an RBI over two games for the AZL D-backs. D-backs manager Chip Hale said the catcher should be ready to return from the DL when his 15 days are up. He was placed on the DL on July 17, with the move retroactive to July 12.

Saltalamacchia was the designated hitter in the first game of his rehab assignment on Thursday, but was behind the plate in Friday's game. In 20 games for the D-backs this season, Saltalamacchia is batting .213 with a homer and four RBIs.

Hale said the plan remained for Saltalamacchia to return to the Major League roster and join fellow catchers Welington Castillo and Rule 5 Draft pick Oscar Hernandez.

"He'll be ready to come off when it's his day," Hale said.

The D-backs have another catcher who could soon be added into the mix as well in veteran Gerald Laird. The 35-year-old played in just one game this season before having back surgery on April 20.

Laird caught his first bullpen session on Friday and Hale said the veteran could be ready to go on a rehab assignment after the team's next road trip.

"He's doing great," Hale said. "Another catcher."

Jake Rill is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.