Hialeah students meet Miami Marlins' Jarrod Saltamacchia

The new Miami Marlins' catcher grew up in West Palm Beach


HIALEAH, Fla. – Miami Marlins' Jarrod Saltamacchia, formerly of the Boston Red Sox, read to a group of students at an elementary school in Hialeah Friday.

After a Red Sox offer didn't even guarantee him two years, Saltalamacchia, 29, returned to Florida and joined the Marlins for $21 million over three years. He grew up in West Palm Beach.

On Friday, in Hialeah, Ben Sheppard Elementary School students were just excited to meet a Major League Baseball professional catcher. About 80 students and their teachers gathered in the library to listen to Saltalamacchia read a story about a caterpillar named Marc.

"On a soft, fuzzy leaf rested a tiny silver egg named Marc. Marc enjoyed being rocked to sleep by the cool breeze," Saltalamacchia read "Marc Learns to Fly" by Alma Sanchez. "One morning, he awoke to the sound of children's laughter. Marc peeked outside his egg and discovered that his home was in front of a school."

 Juan Martinez, the Marlins' multicultural marketing director, read the same story in Spanish. He and Saltamacchia were at the school to support a literacy program named Read Conmigo, which promotes bilingual proficiency.

The program, sponsored by Infinity Auto Insurance, was celebrating the Bilingual Literacy Month. Read Conmigo also donated about $2,500 in Samsung Galaxy tablets and books to the school.