ATLANTA -- The season has turned into anything but a pleasant homecoming for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who is struggling at the plate and behind it for the Marlins.
When the Palm Beach County native skipped a throw into the outfield on Wednesday, he equaled Miguel Olivos team record for most errors in a season by a catcher with 12.
And there are still more than 60 games left.
Definitely something Im not proud of, Saltalamacchia said. I dont like to make excuses for anything. Its something Ive been working on, got to continue to work on.
Saltalamacchia is tied with Clevelands Yan Gomes for most errors by a catcher, and if matters dont improve for him defensively, he could pile up the most errors by a backstop since Paul Lo Duca was charged with 15 in 2003 for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
While defense has never been Saltalamacchias calling card, the Marlins surely couldnt have imagined him struggling this badly when they gave him a three-year, $21 million deal over the winter. Their most significant offseason acquisition in terms of a dollar commitment, he has already made twice as many errors as he did all last season with the Boston Red Sox. He has never committed more than nine in a season.
Using advanced metrics, he is the only catcher in the majors with a negative defensive WAR.
Its something hes got to work on, hes got to get better at, said manager Mike Redmond, a former catcher. Thats a lot of errors for a catcher, no doubt.
Saltalamacchia and Redmond said the change in leagues could be a factor.
The games different in the National League, Saltalmacchia said of the transition moving to the NL from the AL, where he had spent eight of his nine previous seasons. A lot of things are moving. A lot of different pieces. A lot more strategy. Things Ive got to adjust to. Little by little, I feel I am.
Saltalamacchia said it hasnt been just one thing but pointed out rushed throws as one of his primary downfalls.
Just slowing the game down, that aspect has been the biggest transition Ive had to make, he said. Sometimes you try to get too big too quick, and thats when errors can occur. For me, I think its more of a comfort level. Youve been in one league for most of your career. You get comfortable. You get used to how guys play the game and you kind of anticipate certain things. The National League is a little different. Im not used to these guys, so anticipating is a little tougher.
Said Redmond: Its one of those things that when you rush throws against guys who can really run, sometimes thats what happens. You can end up throwing wide, or short. Thats happened to him.
Redmond hinted that backup Jeff Mathis could see more playing time. Mathis caught Brad Hand on Sunday and Jacob Turner on Tuesday. The two pitchers, who have struggled, turned in strong outings to post wins.
Its hot out there and were getting late in the season, Redmond said. [Im] trying to keep Salty as fresh as we can. So Ill try to get Mathis in there a little bit more to keep those guys fresh as we can for the rest of the season.
• Friday: Marlins LHP Brad Hand (1-2, 4.86 ERA) at Houston Astros LHP Dallas Keuchel (9-6, 3.29), 8:10 p.m., Minute Maid Park, Houston.
• Saturday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (6-7, 3.85) at Astros RHP Jarred Cosart (9-6, 4.23), 7:10 p.m., Minute Maid Park, Houston.