MIAMI (AP) — Jarrod Saltalamacchia can't wait to report to spring training with the Miami Marlins — and it has nothing to do with the short drive to their camp.
"I'm really excited to be here," Saltalamacchia said Saturday, when Marlins players met the media at Marlins Park a day before pitchers and catchers report. "With the pitching staff and the bullpen and the guys we got, it's going to be an exciting year."
One of the newest members of the Marlins, he happens to live in West palm Beach, not too far from the team's spring training complex in Jupiter.
The veteran catcher is looking forward to beginning a new phase of a baseball career that has taken him from World Series champion to a 100-loss team.
The 28-year-old Saltalamacchia signed a three-year, $21 million contract with Miami during the offseason. He spent the past 3 1/2 seasons with the Boston Red Sox. Last year, he hit .273, with 14 home runs and 40 doubles, and he helped the Red Sox win their third World Series championship in the last 10 seasons.
With the signing of Saltalamacchia, along with first baseman Garrett Jones and second baseman Rafael Furcal, the Marlins look to add offense to a team that finished last in the majors in batting average, home runs and runs batted in.
"My goal is to go out there and be competitive as a team," Saltalamacchia said. "We all have to step it up. I'm not going to come in here and try to take over. Pitching has done a great job. We just have to score a few more runs and make sure everybody's healthy."
Although their offense struggled, the Marlins rave about their young starting rotation. Headed by NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez, Marlins pitchers had a team ERA of 3.71 — 11th best in the majors.
"When we left here at the end of the season, we got together as a group and talked about some of the areas we needed to improve on," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "It's pretty obvious the positions that we needed. We were able to go out there and get some guys that not only are going to help us offensively but help us with our young core group of guys and to be mentors and leaders to them."