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TOP NEWS
VARITEK WILL ANNOUNCE HIS RETIREMENT FROM BASEBALL
Thu, 01 Mar 2012 10:12 AM EST

Jason Varitek, the longest tenured member of the Red Sox and catcher of 2 World Series-winning teams, will assert his retirement in Fort Myers, Florida, a major league resource confirmed Monday. Football betting lines

Varitek has been offered a position in the franchise, but it is unclear whether he’ll accept it, the source claimed.

Varitek, who turns 40 year-old on April 11, was offered a minor league contract and an invite to big league camp by the Red Sox but has not been at the team’s training facility. He has been with the Red Sox since his trade from Seattle in 1997 and retires having played all 1,546 games of his major-league career with Boston. His 1,488 games caught is a club record. Football lines

Varitek last season signaled a wish to keep on playing for a minimum of 1 or 2 more years, and fellow catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said earlier this spring that Varitek has been catching, throwing and hitting all winter.

But Varitek, an independent agent who served as the Red Sox captain, hasn’t been offered a major league job by a different club.

The Red Sox signed veteran catcher Kelly Shoppach this offseason and additionally have prospect Ryan Lavarnway, who made a short appearance in Boston last season, waiting in the wings.

Of players on last year’s team, only Tim Wakefield had been with the Red Sox longer than Varitek, and Wakefield, 45 year-old, pronounced his retirement earlier in the month.

That leaves David Ortiz, who signed with the Red Sox in 2003, as the club’s elder statesman. When asked what it felt like to not have Wakefield and Varitek around after reporting to camp last week, Ortiz said, “it was kind of unusual walking into the clubhouse and not seeing them.”

Varitek was acquired with pitcher Derek Lowe from the Mariners in 1997 in exchange for reliever Heathcliff Slocumb, one of the best trades in Red Sox history.

Varitek joined a franchise that hadn’t won a World Series in almost eight decades and turned into a vital part of 2 championship teams. One of the iconic highlights of his career for Red Sox fans came on July 24, 2004, when Varitek pushed his glove in Alex Rodriguez’s face in a brawl with the Yankees at Fenway Park.

That period became a flashpoint in debt Sox’s season, which ended with the team conquering a 3-game deficit against NY in the American League Championship Series en route to their 1st title in 86 years. Varitek, who changed into an independent agent after that season, re-signed with the team after a lengthy negotiation and was given a uniform with a “C” on its chest, making him the team’s 1st captain since Jim Rice.

The Red Sox won the Series again in ‘07 with another solid year from Varitek. But since that time, he has batted .218, including a .220 average last year while appearing in just 68 games.

While Varitek’s game-calling continued to be praised by Red Sox pitchers, his capability to stop base stealers deteriorated. Varitek threw away just 14 percent (12 out of 85) last season, while Shoppach nailed 41 percent of base-stealers (18 out of 44), tops in the AL.


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