Varitek hoping to avoid boredom
|02.20.10 at 3:00 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Victor Martinez may have supplanted Jason Varitek as the regular catcher of the Red Sox but it was somewhat telling on the first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers that it was Varitek who held court and was still held in very high regard by his manager.
Terry Francona made it clear that Varitek still commands a great presence in the team’s clubhouse.
“That would never change, in my opinion,” Francona declared. “I think Tek is kind of a special guy. I think he’s certainly earned that right to wear that ‘C’ and if his playing time changes a little bit, I don’t see his role diminishing ever, [in terms of] what he can bring to a team, even when he’s not in the lineup.
“He’s a very strong influence on our team and he always will be.”
The veteran catcher known for his direct approach with teammates and the media spoke for just over seven minutes Saturday on the designated bench in front of the Red Sox minor league clubhouse.
“A lot of things are going to play its way out but for the most part, I’m here to support Vic as much as possible and take the load off him as much as possible,” Varitek said.
“It happened for the last two months of the season last year so this isn’t necessarily new for me. Is it different? Of course it’s different but I think that in that role that it was last year, toward the end, probably got me prepared for this. I still got prepared to take a heavy load because I’m sure exactly how that’s going exactly to pan out, if it’s going to be once a week, twice a week, three times a week, you just don’t know. I’m just preparing to move forward and work with Vic.”
One thing is for sure, Varitek – who turns 38 on April 11 – will likely have more gas in the tank throughout the course of this season as he is not being asked to be the everyday catcher.
“Sometimes, I can get caught up in the grind, I can tend to be a little quieter, trying to conserve energy and do different things,” he said. “Maybe it will open up more communication with Tito and the teammates and anyway I can help. Sometimes, you get bored from sitting there watching and you can figure out more ways to help.
“It’s going to be a work-in-progress on some things. Hopefully, I’m able to maintain strength. It’s a different transition for my body than anything else.”
In short, the captain said on Saturday he still plans on finding ways of leading the team.
“The biggest asset I’ve always had is to be out there,” Varitek said. “Whether you’re hitting well or not hitting well, things going well as a team or not, they could depend on [me] to be out there. That part’s going to be different. I know I might get a little bored but that might be a good thing. We’ll see.”
It was also somewhat fitting that one of the final questions asked of Varitek was how many more years he plans to play.
“I don’t know,” Varitek said. “Ask me at the end of this one.”
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Unexpected Trades Red Sox Could Pull Off This Offseason
- Dream Free-Agent Pickups for Red Sox
- Red Sox Free Agency News and Trade Rumors
- Should Red Sox Trade Cespedes This Offseason?
- Red Sox's Most Tradeable Assets for Offseason
- Uehara Inks 2-Year Extension with Sox
- Possible Trade Partners, Packages for Cespedes
- Weekly Notes: Blake Swihart's hot start; Rusney Castillo on the mend
- Cup of Coffee: Cuevas struggles with command, Barnes bounces back
- Cup of Coffee: Swihart leads PawSox hit parade, Rodriguez earns first win
- Cup of Coffee: Ball stymies Mudcats, Brentz leads Pawtucket past Rochester
- Swihart learning to catch the knuckler in Pawtucket
- System Restart 2015, Pt. 7: Low Minors Pitchers
- Cup of Coffee: Brentz walks off for PawSox home opener
- Cup of Coffee: Jackie Bradley Jr. continues hot start, Pawtucket falls in doubleheader
- System Restart 2015, Pt. 6: Mid-Minors Pitchers
- Cup of Coffee: Margot, Longhi, and Cecchini provide the power