Chicago — Jarrod Saltalamacchia got the start behind the plate Saturday, even though the Tigers were facing left-handed starter Chris Sale.
Normally, right-handed hitting James McCann starts against lefties. This was Saltalamacchia’s fourth start behind the plate in six games.
Brad Ausmus explained the decision in two words — coach’s decision.
“James is healthy,” he said. “I really just wanted to give Salty a couple of days (playing time). Today it’s a matter of Matt Boyd pitching.”
Ausmus feels Boyd benefits from Saltalamacchia’s experience behind the plate. The two have developed a comfort level with each other.
Asked if McCann’s offensive struggles played a role in Saltalamacchia getting more playing time.
“No,” he said. “Just want to see what Salty can do with more playing time.”
Neither is hitting the ball that well.
McCann is hitting .128 since July 2 with 13 strikeouts in 43 plate appearances. He is 1 for 16 since the All-Star break. Saltalamacchia is 2-for-22 in July, though one hit was a game-winning home run against the Royals. He’s struck out 11 times in 29 plate appearances.
Around the horn
Left-hander Daniel Norris’ second rehab outing for Toledo did not go all that well – at least statistically. He was tagged for six runs (five earned) in 4⅔ innings against Norfolk. He walked three and struck out three. The good news is, he threw 80 pitches. Barring any physical setback, he could rejoin the Tigers rotation next week.