Two-year vet. Gerald Laird and the upcoming Jarrod Saltalamacchia are currently battling for the starting catcher spot. Laird started most of last season and was strong defensively, although he hit just .224 letting Saltalamacchia, one of Atlanta’s top prospects (before he was traded to the Rangers), have a chance to take the spot. The loser could end up at Triple-A Oklahoma, although that’s more likely with the younger Saltalamacchia.
Ranger’s Manager Ron Washington said the catching competition is “open” and both men arrived to camp looking “trimmer and fitter” then a year ago. If I had to decide now, my guess would be that opening day the starting catcher is going to be Saltalamacchia. He’s young, he has a fresh arm, and is only going to get better with time. Both catchers arrived at Surprise, Arizona, where spring training is taking place, last Friday and the other players are reported to be at camp on the 20th. The job is up in the air as of now, but come March 31st, one of those two will be the starting catcher against the Mariners.
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