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Salty getting acclimated to NL pitchers

Salty getting acclimated to NL pitchers

MIAMI -- Adapting to a new pitching staff was Jarrod Saltalamacchia's first priority after signing as a free agent with the Marlins. Familiarizing himself to the National League was next.

The Marlins catcher is starting to do just that. After a couple of rough days at the plate to open the season, the 28-year-old is finding his stride, evident by his 4-for-8 showings with two doubles in the first two games of the series against the Padres.

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"The first few games, I was kind of searching," Saltalamacchia said. "I don't know these pitchers too well. So I was taking some pitches maybe I should have been swinging at. I'm getting more familiar with these guys and starting to feel more comfortable at the plate."

Saltalamacchia was the Marlins' major offseason acquisition. A switch-hitter entering his prime, Saltalamacchia gave the organization immediate credibility. He brings championship experience, coming off a World Series campaign in Boston.

But changing from the American League to the NL while learning a new pitching staff is an adjustment. Making his transition easier is the fact the Marlins' offense has responded early, providing plenty of run production. Thus far, Giancarlo Stanton and Casey McGehee have been major contributors.

"The way the offense has been swinging, I don't have to do too much except put fingers down," Saltalamacchia said, referring to calling pitches from behind the plate.

A year ago, with mostly rookies and inexperienced players, the Marlins ranked last in the Majors in runs scored.

Saltalamacchia sees a much more polished team in Miami this year. And he credits the front office for targeting proven veterans to help guide a young nucleus.

"Like I said in Spring Training, you had guys who were in Double-A coming up for the first time last year," Saltalamacchia said. "It's tough to figure things out at the big leagues.

"They did a great job bringing some veteran guys in who have experience, and they have an approach at the plate. They can kind of help everybody out. And the pitching staff has been doing a phenomenal job to help us stay in the game."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter Less