ATLANTA -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia doesn’t wear a Red Sox uniform anymore, but there’s little doubt his heart is still very much Boston Strong.
On Monday, the Marlins’ catcher tuned into the 118th running of the Boston Marathon “from the beginning” and was glued to it for obvious reasons. Last year, Saltalamacchia grew close to many of the survivors from the marathon bombing, visiting them in the hospital during their rehabilitation process, and getting to know a few even better during Boston’s run to the World Series.
Saltalamacchia said he sent a text message Sunday night to one marathon victim in particular, Jeff Bauman, who lost both of his legs in the incident and helped the FBI identify one of the bombers. Bauman, fitted with prosthetic legs, threw out a ceremonial first pitch to Satlalamacchia a couple months after the bombing last year. The two have remained in contact since.
“I was texting Jeff last night telling him congratulations on the pregnancy [of his girlfriend Erin], telling him maybe he can throw me batting practice in the offseason,” Saltalamacchia said. “He looked pretty good throwing BP [Sunday to the Red Sox].”
Saltalmacchia said this spring he received visits from a couple of other survivors who came to visit him at the Marlins’ spring training facility. They shook hands and got to talk through the stadium gates, he said.
“That city alone is always going to be close to me because of what they went through and how they supported me and us as a team,” Saltalamacchia said. “... They were heroes in our minds. It sticks in your mind forever.”
• Saltalamacchia will receive his World Series ring from the Red Sox later this week when the Marlins are in New York.
Donovan Solano, who made the Opening Day roster only after Ed Lucas fractured his left hand in his final at-bat of the spring, made his third consecutive start at second base Monday night.
Manager Mike Redmond said the Marlins need more defensive consistency at second base. Derek Dietrich, who had started 10 games at second with Rafael Furcal on the disabled list, came into Monday’s game with four errors in 47 chances. He has also bobbled countless other balls this season, opening the door for Solano to see some playing time.
“Just looked a little uncomfortable,” Redmond said of Dietrich. “Whether it’s just a thing where he’s a little bit out of his comfort zone after being hit in the face in spring training or not, I think that’s part of it. That’s just something he’s going to have to work through with time and [infield coach Perry Hill’s] help. Hopefully, that will happen soon.”
• Redmond said the Marlins still haven’t decided if Kevin Slowey will pitch in Saturday’s slotted spot in the rotation. The Marlins have an off day Thursday and could pitch Tom Koehler on five days’ rest.
• Tuesday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (2-1, 2.66 ERA) at Atlanta Braves LHP Alex Wood (2-2, 1.67), 7:10 p.m., Turner Field.
• Wednesday: Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (1-1 3.55) at Braves RHP Aaron Harang (3-1, 0.70), 12:10 p.m., Turner Field.