2/19/2014 5:17 P.M. ET
What's in a name? For Saltalamacchia, a record
By Marty Noble / MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- As they say in the NBA these days, Jarrod Saltalamacchia "has length" -- in his name, if not in his legs and arms. The Marlins' new catcher is 6-foot-4, but what distinguishes him most is, of course, the length -- 14 letters -- of his surname. It is the longest in big league history and occupies almost all of the shoulder-to-shoulder area on the back of his uniform.
The distinction isn't one he relishes, though he does delight in sharing one anecdote: "I was on deck one day, real close to the stands, and a fan calls to me, "'You should wear it across your [rear], It would fit better.'"
One of the Marlins' young pitchers, should he have Saltalamacchia as his catcher, would make for an unwieldy battery -- Jarrod Scott Saltalamacchia and Archimedes Euclides Caminero. Not quite the same as Duke Mass and Ed Ott.
The Red Sox last year had a Minor League pitcher who would have done Saltalamacchia one better -- Seth Schwindenhammer.
Johnson knows some things can't be taught
JUPITER, Fla. -- It came as no surprise that the Marlins hired Brett Butler shortly after a season in which their players did not distinguish themselves as home run hitters or small-ball practitioners. The former center fielder for the Braves and Dodgers was appointed the third-base coach, but he also was put in charge of teaching players to bunt, steal, run the bases properly and play the outfield, all things he did quite effectively in his 17 seasons in the big leagues.
Butler, now 56, was mostly a nuisance to opponents.
It was a smart hire by general manager Dan Jennings, who also hired Lance Johnson, a former Minor League outfielder coordinator for the White Sox and Mets. But Johnson has not been asked to work with players on the one phase of the game that he handled better than his contemporaries -- hitting triples.
"You can't teach it," Johnson said years ago, "except to say, 'Hit it hard and run [as fast as you can] as soon as you swing.'"
Johnson retired in 2000 with 117 career triples, tied with Carl Crawford for the second most in the past 30 years (behind Butler's 131).
• The full roster is due to report on Thursday morning. Said manager Mike Redmond: "It'll be a big day, even though most of the position players already are here. ... We'll have a little [meeting] in the morning and then go get 'em."
• The Marlins won't have batting practice until Friday, and when they do they will not have safety screens in front of the mound, though most teams do use them, especially in the first days of BP. Redmond said that most pitchers don't like screens. "It's more realistic the way we do it," he said.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.