Marlins' Saltalamacchia out with concussion, prospect J.T. Realmuto called up
JUN 01, 2014 10:17a ET
Saltalamacchia said he likely sustained it during Saturday's sixth inning when a foul tip off B.J. Upton's bat hit his mask.
"Something didn't feel right, it took me a little longer," said Saltalamacchia, who felt dizzy and had a postgame headache. "It wasn't coming back as quick as normal. I told (head athletic trainer) Sean (Cunningham) about it, we decided to see doc afterwards. They came up with something mild.
"Normally when it hits it hits pretty good and the mask turns. That one kind of went square and (I) remember the mask not really flying or doing anything. Something just didn’t feel right, so we had to make sure."
The 29-year-old, who has never been diagnosed with a concussion, plans to rest and will follow the procedures in place by Major League Baseball. He must sit at least seven games.
Over the course of the week, the training staff will monitor his progress with benchmark tests. Should he pass them, Saltalamacchia can return next Sunday in Chicago when the Marlins play the Cubs. If he doesn't show the necessary progress, he can go on the 15-day DL and continue recovering.
"It’s not like a sprained ankle, you can't play through it," Saltalamacchia said. "It's serious. It can affect your whole life, it can affect your life in general. It's something you have to maintain and be 100 percent before you come back."
Saltalamacchia -- like Ross at the time -- wears a hockey-style mask rather than the traditional catcher's one. He believes the newer ones may cause more concussions because it has less padding. He does not, however, plan to make the switch.
The month of May wasn't too kind to Saltalamacchia, who hit just .177 with two doubles, one homer and eight RBI.
During last weekend's series against the Milwaukee Brewers, Scooter Gennett caught Saltalamacchia on the helmet with his backswing on a pitch in the dirt.
In the eighth inning of Saturday's loss, he struck out with the tying run at second on three pitches against righty Shae Simmons, who was making his major-league debut. Saltalamacchia remained in the game.
"It's tough to focus when you have a concussion, might have not been able to focus as much," Saltalamacchia said. "A little bit of dizziness. I can't say that's the reason."
Manager Mike Redmond, who spent 13 seasons as a big-league catcher, can't pinpoint as to why catchers seem to be sustaining more concussions of late.
"If that's the weight of the mask now or exactly why guys are having these concussions more often than they were," Redmond said. "Maybe we were back then, just didn't say anything. It is definitely something you really have to stay on top of and we know there is a progression we talked about with (Placido) Polanco (last season). You have to prove you're healthy, ready and able to play.
"We'll make sure to follow those guidelines and go by how he feels. You just never know with these things. It could be two or three days, come in tomorrow and say he feels great or it can be an extended period of time, which can happen too. I know talking to Sean and Salty we'll just monitor and be honest with how we feel and make sure we handle this thing the right way."
Miami called up prospect J.T. Realmuto from Double-A Jacksonville to serve as the second catcher. Realmuto was hitting .301 with 14 doubles, three triples, five homers and 31 RBI in 46 games with the Suns. He will wear No. 60.
Got to call my family today and tell them that my childhood dreams were coming true.. Never felt so blessed! Thank you all for the support!!— Jacob Realmuto (@JTRealmuto) June 1, 2014
"He's done a nice job down there," Redmond said. "I feel like right now he's a guy in the short term can come up and do a good job and it's a chance to see him, try to get him in a couple games. We hope that Salty's is just a short-term deal, but you never know with concussions. Right now J.T. was a good fit, he's playing well and he's been swinging the bat extremely well. Glad to have him."
Realmuto took a 6 a.m. flight from Pensacola, Fla., to make it in time to Marlins Park for Sunday's series finale between the Marlins and Braves. He was taken out of Saturday's Double-A game in the third inning.
"(Manager Andy Barkett) pulls me over and he says, 'I gotta take care of the game here,'" Realmuto said. "I was kind of wondering what it was for. Did I do something wrong? He said, 'No, there's something happening in the big leagues. There's a possibility you might go up, so just kind of sit tight. Don't get too excited 'cause it's not for sure yet. It's probably the longest five innings of my life, just sitting there waiting to see what was gonna happen."