It looks like Jason Varitek's tenure with the Red Sox may not be over just yet. According to a report by CBS Sportsí Jon Heyman on Friday, the team has invited Varitek to spring training as a non-roster player, giving the 39-year-old a chance, however slim, at making the 2012 roster.
Citing "people familiar with his situation," Heyman reported:
"The Red Sox fairly have made clear to him that if he did come to camp, he'd serve mostly as 'protection' in the event one of their two catchers, Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Kelly Shoppach, is hurt. Ryan Lavarnway is seen as Boston's catcher of the future but is expected to start the year in Triple-A Pawtucket."
The Red Sox have yet to confirm the report, and in a message to The Globe's Nick Cafardo Red Sox GM Ben Cherington texted that the team has yet to formally offer Varitek anything at this time.
Varitek, who has played his entire major-league career with the Red Sox, is said to be weighing his options. If Varitek does not return to the Red Sox, it's expected he will retire rather than look for a catching job with another team.
Varitek batted .221 for the Red Sox last season, with 11 home runs and 36 RBI, though his biggest impact was behind the plate. In games that Varitek caught, the Red Sox were 42-22 with an ERA of 3.57. When Varitek was out of the line-up, the team went 48-50 with a 4.62 ERA.
The main contributors to The Buzz are:
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Gary Dzen, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Zuri Berry, Boston.com sports producer