“I’ve been working on it more than in the past just trying to simplify some things,” Saltalamacchia said. “Colby [hitting coach Greg Colbrunn] has been offering some things. I’m naturally righthanded, but if I had 600-700 at-bats you’re not going to have enough at-bats righthanded. I had 50 at-bats righthanded last year so you start to lose that timing. It’s tough to get that when you’re facing some of the tough seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-inning guys in the league. I always felt I can square the ball up better righthanded. My stats are going to be better from the left side because you’re going to get more at-bats. In the minors it was pretty even.”
He quipped, “I have a lot of hits left from the right side.”
Waiting on Drew
Shortstop Stephen Drew (concussion) is not ready to return. “Reports were that he had similar symptoms,” Farrell said. “If there’s no improvement by the end of the day [Tuesday] we’ll have him see Dr. Michael Collins in Pittsburgh.” Farrell said Drew is not feeling any additional exertion symptoms when he does the stationary bike, “but he’s not ready to go to the next step.’’ . . . Franklin Morales threw from 60 feet as he returns from a bulging disk in his back. Farrell said the lefthander will repeat the process at least twice more before advancing to throwing off a mound . . . On the first base/backup outfield job, Farrell likes the competition among Daniel Nava, Mike Carp, Lyle Overbay, and Ryan Sweeney. “On a given day it’s a two-horse race or a four-horse race,’’ Farrell said. “Some separation at times but then good at-bats by Overbay and Sweeney. The defensive versatility is important but we’re going to measure this probably on the at-bats, which will be the overriding issue here.” . . . Farrell said because of a deficiency in righthanded bats off the bench, Ryan Lavarnway and Mauro Gomez still are in the mix for a backup role . . . If Drew starts the year on the disabled list, Jose Iglesias likely will be the starter. Asked whether Pedro Ciriaco could start, Farrell said, “Jose has done a very good job. Reading his comments he feels confident in the box. His work has been outstanding.” Ciriaco should return soon from back spasms.