The Marlins’ decision to designate Jarrod Saltalamacchia for assignment was due in part to J.T. Realmuto’s work with pitchers, Juan C. Rodriguez writes for Baseball America (subscription-only). “He did outstanding calling pitches,” says Dan Haren of Realmuto’s work in an April start. “I thought it was going to be really tough for him because I throw a lot of pitches in a lot of different counts to different sides of the plate, and he did really, really good.” The Marlins promoted Realmuto in mid-April after Jeff Mathis got hurt, and since then, he’s made a powerful impression. Realmuto hasn’t hit much so far (.222/.237/.333 in 76 plate appearances so far), but his track record suggests his offense will eventually improve somewhat, and the Marlins seem to view his hitting as secondary anyway. Here are more notes from the East divisions.
- Manager John Farrell worked with new Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis for many years in the Indians organization, but Farrell emphasizes that the team isn’t hiring Willis because of their friendship, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald writes. “This is about hiring those you have familiarity with, that you are confident in their skills to get the job done,” says Farrell, pointing out that the Red Sox’ firing of Juan Nieves after his staff’s miserable start to the season came at an unusual time of the year, and that Willis was available and could step in immediately. Previously the pitching coach of the Indians and Mariners, Willis was working as the pitching coach of the Triple-A Columbus Clippers.
- The continued success of the Rays’ pitching staff despite injuries and roster turnover is due to a successful culture bred in part by former stars James Shields and David Price, Peter Gammons says on MLB Central (video). The Rays’ starters work together and encourage one another, working as a unit rather than as individuals, and their relievers are particularly keen on learning from one another.