Jason Varitek was a tough act to follow. The former Red Sox captain was revered by fans and had the utmost respect from members of the Red Sox pitching staff. He left Jarrod Saltalamacchia big shoes to fill, but the young switch-hitting backstop has taken well to being the go-to guy behind the plate.
On Tuesday, Jon Lester said he has noticed how Saltalamacchia has run with his new role this season now that Varitek is out of the picture.
"He came to us with a big name -- no pun intended," Lester said of Saltalamacchia. "He had a big reputation for who he was as a catcher and offensive player and I think now he's just trying to -- not trying -- I think now he's just feeling comfortable. He knows his role.
"He knows you know, as much as 'Tek helps, I think having him not here helps, as well. You know, you don't have that presence breathing down your neck. Like I said, obviously it's nice to have 'Tek here, but I think for Salty to get out from underneath that shadow and now it's his pitching staff and he's done a great job."
A look at David Ortiz, who emerged in 2003 from a platoon player to a developing force with the Red Sox.
This week’s Sports Illustrated has been guest-edited by Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, who is also featured on the New England regional cover with the headline “Designated Editor: Before He Retires Big Papi Takes Over SI.”
The cover shot is Ortiz stepping out of the dugout at Fenway Park, surrounded by his teammates and fans. In the issue, SI's Tim Verducci has an in-depth, candid Q&A with Ortiz on a range of topics in which Big Papi doesn’t shy away from questions about PEDs, his proudest accomplishments and biggest disappointments.
This is the first time in the magazine's 62-year history that an athlete has guest-edited an issue. Ortiz was able to select the stories, including one on his friend, new Celtics free agent acquisition Al Horford, which explores the brotherhood of Dominican athletes beyond their major league dominance. Ortiz asked SI to look into what’s going on at Patriots headquarters, where his favorite NFL team is off to a 3–0 start. He called for an opus on Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, whose life was tragically cut short last weekend, and who will have a lasting impact on those he touched. Finally, Seth Meyers, host of NBC's Late Night, and writer Michael Schur pay their respects to Ortiz.