Jarrod Saltalamacchia: ‘It feels good’ to have Jason Varitek back in camp
|02.19.13 at 3:54 pm ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The irony of the situation was rich Tuesday.
Jason Varitek, the former Red Sox captain, was in front of the pitcher’s mound on Field ’2′ throwing pitches to catchers, observing how they called defensive signals, received the ball and threw to second and third base. Manager John Farrell and new bullpen coach Dana LeVangie was a close observer.
For 14 years, from 1998-2011, Varitek was the backbone of the Red Sox battery as its primary catcher. Now he wants to impart wisdom.
“It feels good, having a guy like him that you respected growing up and got to play with him,” Jarrod Saltalamacchia said Tuesday. “It’s nice having him out there because he’s a guy that I’ve gone to in the past and I can still go to him. He’s there but you don’t feel like he’s stepping on anybody’s toes. He’s there for them, which is special.”
Saltalamacchia joined Varitek on the bench as Ryan Lavarnway was the starting catcher for the last game of Varitek’s career, Sept. 28, 2011, when the Red Sox lost their season finale and their season in Baltimore.
After taking 2012 off to spend time with his family, Varitek is back as a “special assistant” to general manager Ben Cherington. On Monday it was Pedro Martinez – another “special assistant” – showing his willingness to give back to Red Sox Nation. On Tuesday, Varitek appeared on the practice fields.
“I would say it’s very similar,” Farrell said. “You’ve got two very successful players who have been leaders in their own right at their respective positions. They’ve achieved team success as much as anybody has ever played in this game, particularly in this uniform. They’re both so well respected and I think they’re so respective of the city of Boston, the organization, they want to give back. They have a great opportunity to do just that. I know that Tek, even in his last couple of years, Salty would pick his brain a lot. And now Tek has the ability to do that on a broader scale. Most importantly, they both want to give back, and I think it’s a great thing.”
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