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Josh Beckett has a message: Jason Varitek is great, but stop with the personal catcher talk

04.16.11 at 11:40 am ET
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Besides Josh Beckett’s utter dominance of the Yankees a week ago, another story-line emanating from the eight innings of shutout ball was the question regarding Jason Varitek’s importance in the equation.

With Beckett pitching at another level from what he showed in his first start of the season, which was caught by Jarrod Saltalamacchia, some were jumping to the conclusion that Varitek’s presence was a big reason for the pitcher’s success.

Beckett’s take …

“It’€™s not a big deal. Who wouldn’€™t want Jason Varitek catching? But it doesn’€™t mean I don’€™t want Salty, and I don’€™t ever want it to seem like that,” Beckett said. “When Salty is back there I have the same drive and I still feel the same way.

“If you go around the league there isn’€™t a [expletive] out there that wouldn’€™t want Jason Varitek catching. That doesn’€™t mean they wouldn’€™t want Jarrod Saltalamacchia catching. When there are questions like there always asked of me, it’€™s almost like they’€™re trying to stir something up, but there’€™s nothing to stir up.”

Beckett has thrown 112regular season games to Varitek, 76 more than any other catcher (with Paul Lo Duca coming in No. 2). Conversely, he has had Saltamacchia as a battery-mate just two occasions, once last season (7 IP, 3 R) and the game in Cleveland.

And while Beckett’s career ERA with Varitek behind the plate (3.95) is hard to ignore, he is adamant that the same sort of success can be had with Saltalamacchia catching.

“I don’€™t want to take credit away from Jason either. There are bunch of papers in that newspaper, and that has to say something in it,” Beckett said. “But you go around the league and there isn’€™t anybody who would say, ‘€˜No’€™ to Jason Varitek catching. That doesn’€™t mean they don’€™t want Jarrod Saltalamacchia catching, but nobody is going to say no to Jason Varitek catching. The guy is a Hall of Famer. It’€™s all good.

“It’€™s always asked, ‘€˜Do you like it when Jason Varitek catches?’€™ [Expletive] yeah I like it. He’€™s an [expletive] Hall of Famer. Then they write, ‘€˜He would rather have Jason Varitek catching.’€™ I never said that. It’€™s crazy.”

For Beckett, who pitches Saturday against the Blue Jays, the bottom line isn’t difficult to decipher.

“We make the decisions,” he said. “They throw down suggestions and then we throw what we want to throw.”

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