More than a game of catch

By: Ian Steele

JUPITER, FL-  When you watch a baseball is on TV, viewers notice the signs that catchers give pitchers, requesting which pitch should be thrown. It’s a sign language, a code, a silent connection between teammates.

Those signs vary between pitchers, and a catcher needs to be fluent in each hurler’s language.

New Miami Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is still working on getting on the same page with his new staff, but even a veteran still needs time to adjust.

“I haven’t caught these guys too much. It’s going to take most of Spring Training,” Saltalamacchia said.

“There are going to be times in the first part of the season where we’re trying to get comfortable. Hopefully it shouldn’t take that long.”

According to John Farrell, Saltalamacchia’s former manager, the veteran catcher has always had the attitude to contribute to a team with raw, young pitching talent.

“One thing Salty’s great at is the way he talks to his teammates. He’s very giving of himself,” said Farrell.

Even when working with the same pitchers over multiple years, everyone has off days.

 “As a catcher our main job is to help the pitcher and get the most out of them,” said Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway. “We may need to give them a little nugget of mechanics or something else to think about. On days where we can help them get through something when they may not be their best, that’s when they really need us.”

“I think that’s the nature of the catcher,” Farrell commented.  “You’re there for your teammates, particularly the guy on the mound.”

It’s more than just chemistry. Chemistry comes naturally. With pitchers and catchers, extra work away from the diamond can be necessary.

“It’s critical,” said Farrell. “The rapport either in between innings, in between outings, away from the field. There are ways to build that rapport. That’s the center of the game.”

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