DETROIT — Saladino played his 76th game Tuesday, and with eight homers and 10 stolen bases it stands to reason the 27-year-old — who can play all four infield positions as well as the outfield and perhaps catch in a pinch — could be a 15-20 home run hitter in a full-time role.
“I feel like I’m definitely strong enough to hit that many but it’s the product of a good swing, hitting the ball just right, not something to try for,’’ Saladino said. “A lot of them come with two strikes because you shorten up and try to put good contact on the ball.’’
Saladino appears to take a healthy cut but don’t be fooled, he says. He has never homered when trying to go deep.
“I’m not trying to swing hard, I’m going for the quick thing and maybe it appears I’m swinging hard,’’ he said. “I try to think of my swing as more quick. My confidence comes from relying on quickness more than power and effort.’’
Saladino is batting .265 after going 1-for-4 with a double in his first at-bat in the Sox’ 8-4 loss to the Tigers, a night after he homered and drove in all three Sox runs in a 4-3 loss. He’s hitting .327 with two homers, four doubles and 10 RBI in his last 13 games.
Manager Robin Ventura said the quality of Saladino’s at-bats have improved over the course of his second season, “and he has a little power like he showed [Monday] night.’’
As pitchers learn Saladino’s tendencies, “he’s smart and cagey enough that he’s also making adjustments. He understands what guys are trying to do to him. And his recall is very good as far as being able to visualize what they’re trying to do to him and get the barrel to it.’’
MLB, Robertson, Ranaudo assist flood victims
Major League Baseball and the players union are making a joint donation of $250,000 to help flood Louisiana flood victims.
The contribution, announced Tuesday, includes $125,000 for the American Red Cross. Sox closer David Robertson’s High Socks for Hope and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and each will receive $62,500.
The Baton Rouge Area Foundation is forwarding donations to the Louisiana Flood Relief Fund, set up by LSU players in the majors including Sox right-hander Anthony Ranaudo.
High Socks for Hope, a nonprofit foundation created and operated by Robertson and his wife, Erin, assists natural disaster victims nationwide.
“MLB has been gracious enough to give us this donation and we’ve already got people on the ground there feeding thousands of people — volunteers and those who are down there who have lost everything,’’ Robertson said. “We’re going to continue to help out as much as we can down there.
“We’re not a monster organization but we do what we can, we stretch every dollar and with this generous donation we’re going to find a way to help those that have been affected by this terrible flood.’’
Gonzalez eyes return next week
Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, on the disabled list with a groin strain, will make his injury rehab start for AAA Charlotte Thursday and rejoin the Sox rotation if all goes well. A Wednesday start at home against the Tigers is a good possibility.
Gonzalez is 2-5 with a 4.05 ERA. From July 1 to Aug. 5, Gonzalez pitched to a 2.76 ERA over seven starts.
This and that
Todd Frazier’s homer Tuesday was his 33rd, which ranks third in the American League.
*Jose Abreu (single in four at-bats) has reached base safely in 26 straight games, the longest streak of his career and the longest active streak in baseball.
*Adam Eaton’s walk was his team-high 55th, which ranks 15 in the AL.
*Omar Narvaez doubled and walked in four plate appearances and has hit safely in 13 of 15 games with an at-bat.
Probables for Twins
Thursday: Jose Quintana (11-9, 2.77) vs. Ervin Santana (6-10, 3.54)Friday: Carlos Rodon (5-8, 3.91) vs. Kyle Gibson (5-8, 5.17)Saturday: James Shields (5-16, 5.86) vs. Hector Santiago (10-8, 4.93)Sunday: Anthony Ranaudo vs. Andrew Albers (both pitching Tuesday night)