Cherington on Varitek

Cherington on Varitek
February 18, 2012, 4:03 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. Will Tim Wakefield be joined in retirement by Jason Varitek?

With pitchers and catchers reporting Sunday, the Red Sox are still not sure if Varitek, who was offered a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp, will be among them. But general manager Ben Cherington is leaning against that.

I dont have anything to report, Cherington said after Wakefields retirement ceremony Friday. Report date for pitchers and catchers is on Sunday. Im not expecting any additions to the roster at this point. I dont have anything to report.

Because I dont expect any additions, I guess I expect that he wont be here on Sunday. But thats something, again, that weve agreed with Jason to continue to talk to him and let him make that decision. And he needs to make that on his own, and I respect that.

Cherington, who said there is not a hard deadline on Variteks offer, has been in touch with the catcher and more recently his agent, Scott Boras.

The Sox have tried to respect the uniqueness of the situations for both Varitek and Wakefield, and what they have meant to the organization over their lengthy careers and tenures with the team 17 seasons for Wakefield, 15 for Varitek -- allowing them extra latitude in making their decisions.

Varitek appeared in 68 games for the Sox last season, batting .221 with 11 home runs, 36 RBI, a .300 on-base percentage, and .423 slugging percentage. But in nine games in September, he hit just .077 (2-for-26) with a home run, four RBI, and 11 strikeouts, well off his monthly high last season when he hit .333 (15-for-45) in May with two home runs, seven RBI, and 12 strikeouts.

We told Varitek that there was an opportunity to come to camp and gave him, as we did with Tim, gave him as much of the landscape as we could, Cherington said. In terms of what that would mean, again unique situation, to put that in the players court and not normally what wed do. But in these two particular cases we felt that there was merit to doing it that way because of what they meant to the team.

The Sox currently have Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Kelly Shoppach, Ryan Lavarnway, and Luis Exposito on the 40-man roster, with Dan Butler and Max St. Pierre in camp as non-roster invitees.