PHILADELPHIA -- As a rule, catchers are probably the most like hockey players. Stitch 'em up and put 'em back in the lineup.
That was the case Saturday for Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who needed a dozen stitches to close a cut at the bottom and back of his left ear but was back in the lineup Saturday night to catch pitcher Jon Lester.
Not only did he play, but Saltalamacchia homered, doubled and singled, scoring twice, while catching nine innings in Boston's 7-5 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
After the game, manager Bobby Valentine pulled out his cellphone.
"[Friday] night this is what Salty sent to me," Valentine said. "'Hey, Bobby, this is Salty. Everything came back good, had some stitches. The doctor cleared me to play. I'm good for tomorrow, plus I'm good to hit a bomb.'"
Calling your shot by cellphone may not become the stuff of legend like the Babe pointing in Wrigley Field, but hey, if it works, go with it. Saltalamacchia hit his sixth of the season in the fourth, going back-to-back with rookie Will Middlebrooks.
Which leads to the funky stat of the night: The Saltalamacchia/Middlebrooks combination now holds the distinction of longest combined last names (26 letters) to homer in a single game.
"That’s how I got to sleep last night," Valentine said of Saltalamacchia's reassuring note. "It's a tough roster playing in a National League park. Tough enough roster as it is."
Valentine already was going into the game short-handed with outfielder Cody Ross unavailable after fouling a ball off his left foot.
Saltalamacchia was injured Friday night in a freak play, when a pitch from Daniel Bard struck Ty Wigginton in the arm, caromed off Saltalamacchia’s arm, and struck him in the ear, an area that is not protected by his catcher’s mask.
"Weird, real strange," Saltalamacchia said of the play, which took place in the fifth inning Friday night. "The chances of it happening again are slim.
"I’m sore. I had stitches, but the doctors, everybody cleared me. They did a CT, all the concussion tests, I’m good."
Other injury updates:
Kevin Youkilis went 1-for-4 in Pawtucket Saturday while playing third base. He is expected to take Sunday off. A source said that Youkilis will rejoin the Red Sox Monday in Baltimore, though Valentine has not committed to that timetable publicly and said Saturday it would be useful for Youkilis to play nine innings in a game before returning.
Pitcher Aaron Cook was scheduled to throw a bullpen Saturday and have the stitches removed from his left knee. The next step for Cook will be a rehabilitation assignment.