The Rangers have an overall pretty sound infield with a mixture of rookies, veterans and players in the middle. The infield is always led by the catcher. In order to have a solid infield you need to have a solid catcher. This is why Boston’s captain is Jason Varitek and the White Sox’s is A. J. Pierzynski.
The Rangers starting catcher is Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Saltalamacchia is recovering from off season shoulder surgery and he recently worked out during the Rangers Minicamp this past month. Saltalamacchia was suffering from tingling in his arm, this was due to pressure being put on a nerve by a rib. The surgery was preformed in August and it removed the rib which was causing the discomfort. Saltalamacchia was acquired by the Rangers in the Mark Teixeira trade from the Braves. He projects to be the starting catcher with Taylor Teagarden backing him up. The Rangers also signed vetran Toby Hall as a non-roster invitee to back up Saltalamacchia if he is not ready to go opening day.
Saltalamacchia came to the Rangers on July 31, 2007 and for the remainder of the season he appeared in 46 games at first base/catcher and hit 251 with 7 home runs and 21 rbis. Then in 2008 he hit .253 with 3 home runs, 26 rbis in 61 games in 2008. In 2009 he came in with the expectation of stepping up as the Rangers primary catcher and he .233 with 9 home runs, 34 rbis before going on the disabled list in August and later having surgery. The Rangers then acquired Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez to fill the whole left by Saltalamacchia.
Taylor Teagarden is a native Texan and played for the University of Texas at Austin before being drafted by the Rangers in the 2005 amateure draft. He looks to be the main backup for Saltalamacchia this coming season. He appeared in 60 games last season batting with 6 homeruns and 24 rbis in 2009. Both of the catchers for the Rangers should develop in 2010 and have breakout seasons.
One last interesting fact about Jarrod Saltalamacchia, he currently holds the record for the longest last name in MLB history, with it being 14 letters. It literally barely fits on his back.