FORT MYERS, Fla. -- So much for the Red Sox having too many starters for too few spots in their rotation.
Ryan Dempster, who signed a two-year, $26 million deal with the Red Sox after the 2012 season, has told the Red Sox he doesn't intend to pitch this season because of physical and family issues.
"I had an incredible run, a chance to play 16 years in the major leagues and be around a lot of great teammates, made a lot of good friendships, great friendships," Dempster said. "I'm totally comfortable with it. I'm at peace with my decision."
Dempster was expected to be one of six starters competing for five spots in the rotation, along with Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront and Jake Peavy.
Dempster was 8-9 with a 4.57 ERA in 32 games -- 29 of them starts -- in his first season with the Red Sox. He was bumped to the bullpen in the post-season.
"The past few years have been tougher and tougher," he said. "As you get older, going through some things, some issues I have with my neck that have made it harder and harder to throw a baseball and throw it like I'm accustomed to throw it."
The Sox will reportedly place Dempster on the restricted list and will not pay Dempster his 2014 salary of $13.25 million.
Both Red Sox manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington spoke with members of the media on Sunday, praising Dempster for the positive effect he had in the team's clubhouse during last season's run to a World Series title.
Cherington echoed Farrell's comment that Dempster was the "consummate teammate."
"He was a great teammate and a guy people loved being around," Cherington said. "He means a lot to his teammates."
David Ortiz hasn't made his way to Fort Myers just yet, but he reacted to the news with some surprise on Twitter.
Im going to miss my brother dempster during the season l just hear the news and all ready know that we are going to miss a lot of fun— David Ortiz (@davidortiz) February 16, 2014