Jason Varitek back with Red Sox: ‘Physically’ ready for a few more years
|12.11.10 at 12:35 pm ET|
Sporting the World Series championship ring from 2007, Jason Varitek sat comfortably Saturday in his seat at the end of a conference table in room off the EMC Club at Fenway Park, declaring that he’s is more than ready to return for the 2011 season.
“It’s awesome, it’s awesome,” said Varitek, who signed a one-year deal for $2 million, plus incentives. “Did I hope for it? Yes, I hoped for it and wished that it would happen. Did I necessarily this go-around, they may go in other directions? Yeah. I was excited I didn’t have to make that final decision.”
What Varitek returns to is one of the best scenarios he could have hoped for with Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez on board.
“It’s like a tale of two different [scenarios],” Varitek said. “The [Red Sox] Nation wasn’t as happy as they are now with what’s gone on. To expect it, no. To expect us to win, yes and how much that takes to do that, you have to be in the right places. That gives us a chance but we still have big steps to take for this team to be good.”
But he admitted that between the end of the season and Saturday, this was the off-season he actually thought he might not return as captain as the Red Sox.
“This, more than any time in my career, I had probably the most interest from other teams and it was probably in the same regards that they have a need for the same and have a same type thing and it might not be here [in Boston],” said Varitek, who did not disclose the teams or how far along he was in the process.
“You don’t know what’s going to happen. You never know what’s going to happen with injuries, etcetera. So I have to prepare like I know how to prepare everyday to physically and mentally be ready to play every day. That’s not necessarily the case but physically that’s what I have to do.”
A broken right foot limited Varitek to just 39 games in 2010, when he hit .232 and belted seven homers for the Red Sox as a back-up to Victor Martinez. He comes back in 2010 and actually could have a more prominent role on the team as he helps Jarrod Saltalamacchia learn the pitching staff.
“Going into this last one, I figured a few more years but I don’t know,” Varitek said. “At this point of my career it’s almost a year to year basis of seeing where I’m at but physically, I think it’s a few more years.”
“I’m excited,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “I think ‘Tek did an amazing job on the transition. That’s not an easy thing to do, to be like a stalwart. For many, many years be the captain, and then be asked to handle a reduced role, I think what Tek did, his role didn’t get reduced. He didn’t allow it to be.
“He picked it up in other areas, whether it was helping out the other catchers or his teammates, and as much as we appreciated, that’s why we appreciate it, because it’s not easy. He handled it with a lot of class and dignity. We’re actually thrilled he’s back. I think it’s easy to lose sight, because he got injured last year. but he was having a really productive year. this isn’t all about helping salty. This is about helping us win games. he’s going to catch.”
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