While the players on the field for the Red Sox in the late innings of Tuesday's blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Rays featured some of the best and brightest prospects still getting their feet wet in the majors, it was the work being done by Jason Varitek that had the 38-year-old catcher most excited about the future.
Playing in his first game since breaking his foot on June 30, Varitek caught four innings and went 0-for-2 in what otherwise would have been an uneventful night in the career of someone who's played in nearly 1,500 games. Yet it was how he felt and not he well he performed that had Varitek feeling confident after the game.
"Health-wise, I've turned a corner that will allow me to do some things at a high level," Varitek said after the 14-5 loss to the Rays. "So yeah, I definitely want to play [next year]. … I want to listen to my body, but at this point, I would like to play another year. I would like to play a few more years, but we'll just have to see."
While Varitek left open the possibility that his health could turn the other way, thereby forcing him to "reevaluate" his plans, he was focusing more on the positives of his long road back to the field.
"I've made some drastic improvements and I'm just kind of almost rejuvenated," he said.
Not only does Varitek feel OK — he says he might be better than ever in some areas.
"[I'm] able to make some adjustments offensively," he said. "I've probably thrown the ball as good or better than I ever have in my entire life. There's a lot of things, the things you take pride in, being able to block a ball, move, different things. So I think that at some level, I'm doing things better than I ever have."