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06/17/08 9:37 PM ET

Saltalamacchia reunites with Braves

Catcher in Teixeira trade keeps in touch with ex-teammates

ARLINGTON -- Before taking batting practice with his Rangers teammates on Tuesday evening, Jarrod Saltalamacchia had the opportunity to reunite and take some ribbing from some of his former Braves teammates.

"Get your hair cut," Chipper Jones playfully yelled as Saltalamacchia shook hands and shared laughs with Jeff Francoeur and Brian McCann.

This marked the first time Saltalamacchia had seen many of his Braves teammates since being involved in last year's trade deadline deal that sent Mark Teixeira to the Rangers. But the Braves' former top prospect has kept in touch with many of the guys he grew up with in Atlanta's Minor League system.

"I've been talking to Chuck James and Jo-Jo [Reyes]," Saltalamacchia said. "I've called Frenchy [Francoeur] and Mac [McCann] a few times, but they don't answer and don't call back. Typical. I've texted Chipper a couple of times."

Although Saltalamacchia's Major League stint with the Braves lasted just 47 games before he was traded, the 23-year-old switch-hitting catcher still was a popular and likable figure. Still, with McCann in the organization, it was always assumed he'd only remain in Atlanta if he was playing something other than the catcher's position.

"I knew I wasn't going to be the catcher in Atlanta," Saltalamacchia said. "But I was hoping maybe something could happen one day. But it didn't, and I'm over here [with the Rangers], and they're giving me an opportunity."

As last year's trade deadline neared, it became more apparent that Saltalamacchia would be traded. He learned about the trade while watching ESPN with his wife early on the morning of July 30. The next day, Matt Harrison, one of the five Braves players included in the five-for-one trade, passed his physical and the trade was official.

"I knew it was coming," Saltalamacchia said. "But [hearing all the rumors] eased it up a little bit. Saying goodbye to all of those guys was tough."

Saltalalamacchia entered Tuesday having hit .244 with three homers in 86 at-bats with the Rangers. He's splitting time behind the plate with Gerald Laird. One of his weaknesses has been shown by the fact that he's retired just two of the 24 opponents who have attempted to steal a base against him this year.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.