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With heavy workload, Salty could benefit from rest

With heavy workload, Salty could benefit from rest

BOSTON -- The Red Sox believe a short rest could help catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia get back in a groove at the plate.

Saltalamacchia was out of the lineup for the third straight game on Friday against the Blue Jays, with Boston facing its third left-hander in as many nights in Aaron Laffey. The time away from the game also comes after a rough offensive stretch for the switch-hitter.

"He's dying to get back in there, so we'll see if he's recharged tomorrow," said manager Bobby Valentine on Friday.

In five games since the All-Star break, Saltalamacchia is 1-for-15 with eight strikeouts against two walks. He's struck out at least once in each of his last eight games dating back to July 6.

"[He's seen] tough pitches and [is] swinging at some pitches that really weren't hittable," Valentine said. "I think he will be more selective next time he gets out there and hit them the way that he can."

Saltalamacchia is hitless in his last 13 at-bats and is mired in a 1-for-24 slump over his last seven games. He leads Major League catchers with 17 home runs, but his .229 batting average is the lowest it's been since late April.

But working on his swing is not the main priority for a catcher in his first full season as a starter with the responsibility of overseeing Boston's pitching staff. That alone leaves less time for Saltalamacchia to tinker with his offense.

"He's also a switch-hitter, so he has a lot on his plate, working on both sides of the plate, working with the pitching staff and taking a real personal responsibility when things don't go well," Valentine said. "I think the one thing he has not shied away from is the idea that he is really responsible for everything that goes on out there with his pitching staff, and I think that's a burden as much as anything. It's his first year doing it full time, and I think he's figuring it out."

Kelly Shoppach has started in Saltalamacchia's place for the last three games. He hit a pinch-hit two-run homer in Tuesday's 7-5 loss to the White Sox but was 1-for-7 with four strikeouts in his last two games entering Friday.