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Jason Varitek on D&H

02.22.10 at 8:11 pm ET
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With the Red Sox officially kicking off spring training, Jason Varitek checked in from Ft. Myers on Monday with Dale & Holley to talk about the 2010 Red Sox campaign.

Varitek will no longer be the No. 1 catcher on the Sox — it is expected that Victor Marinez will take over the full-time duties — but the captain didn’t see a big deal in how that would play out.

“I think that it’s not really different than what ended up at the end of last year. I had two months to get used to it last year and I don’t see any difference,” said Varitek. “It’s still a grind and we still have to get our work in and all of those kinds of things throughout the whole spring training.”

Varitek also talked about the “C” on his jersey and how he actually felt when the organization asked him to put the letter on.

To read the full transcript look below, but to listen to the interview click here.

How has spring training been so far?

I think it’s been pretty good. We have some nice weather. It hasn’t been overly warm yet but it’s been warmer than where everyone comes from.

How have you approached spring training this year as the backup to Victor Martinez?

I think that it’s not really different than what ended up at the end of last year. I had two months to get used to it last year and I don’t see any difference. It’s still a grind and we still have to get our work in and all of those kinds of things throughout the whole spring training.

Do you keep the same schedule as far as talking with the pitchers and John Farrell as you did when you were the starter?

I think it allows you more time to see a few more things at a different angle. But the communication process has to stay the same with John through me, through Vic, through the both of us. You know back-and-forth and through those pitchers. So it’s a square or triangular or rectangular affect of communication, and that can’t change.

How different is it when you see a pitcher as an opposing hitter and now you start catching him, in this case John Lackey?

That’s the game within the game, where what could be exploited on you as a hitter could be different according to the other hitter. So you see things on different angles. When you see them pitch from a catching stand point you basically figure out quickly what they can’t do and you learn quickly what they can do. I don’t think it would help your hitting as much unless there were drastic strengths and weaknesses, which I don’t think you have the success rate that he does, having not had those.

Do you want to spend more time with new pitchers because you have so much more to learn?

I think you just spend the time. You get vision when you catch them in bullpens and then you see a little bit in spring. Getting through some of the real tell tale is when the lights come on and how people react to the lights. That’s when you learn the most.

How do you feel about the “C” on your jersey with your new role?

Does it change the person? I don’t know what would be the difference of having it on or off with regards to changing roles. You are put in that positions because of you know examples. Those things aren’t going to change quite as much.

What did you think the first time they asked you to put it on?

I was a little bashful about it. I kind of felt a little bit uncomfortable having that on my uniform. Then as you think about it, it comes from an organizational respect and respect that they asked me to wear it, rather than me being worried about it and feeling weird for wearing an extra letter on my uniform.

Is this the best rotation you’ve seen in Boston?

I don’t know. I don’t know, because there is still a lot of youth. There is still a lot of things that that has to get through. If people continue to take steps in that rotation, then I think it can be really good. Just on name alone it has to get better and everyone has to work and push their game to make it that much better.

How different was Daisuke Matsuzaka in September than the one that started last year?

Not too much. He was a little bit stronger, not drastically stronger. I think some of location and those things were better than it was a strength issue. His misfires were good misfires as opposed to being caught in the middle of the plate. He did his work and got stronger and that was definitely a big difference. You are not talking 10 mph difference you are talking about a couple miles per hour. It added to his sharpness and he was a little sharper.

Could you sense that he wasn’t 100 percent healthy early last year?

I don’t know if you feel it as much as you see it in rotation more than anything.

You mean rotation of the ball?

Yeah. When you have seen guys be able to do certain things and what they are good at, and when they kind of step away from that and the ball rotates a little different on their breaking ball, you get four or five different rotations. The rotation, the crispness and the revolutions on his fastball kind of tend to not be as many when guys go through those stints when they are not as strong and have some injuries.

Tell us about how a lucky person could have dinner with you?

First you go to www.netraffle.org and you enter in Jason Varitek spring training raffle. It’s as much as $10 a raffle ticket and anybody can win and the grand prize is dinner with me, hotel and flight accommodations. Tickets to spring training games on the 28th and 29th, and it pretty much allows anyone to participate and it all goes to charity for covering some of the costs for overhead. It’s just an opportunity to give back and give people an opportunity to maybe do something that normally you don’t really get a chance to do. For $10 a raffle ticket you can get as many as you want, and potentially have that opportunity.

They reach out to so many organizations, the Celebrities for Charity organization, and they try and not stick with just one but see how many different ones they can reach. That’s what they do best and to have another great cause that allows them to reach out to.

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