BOSTON ?? The doors on Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield's careers in Boston aren't shut just yet. But Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine nudged them a little closer on Saturday morning.
After a report emerged Friday that Boston offered Varitek a spring training invite as a non-roster player, Valentine downplayed the reunion and insinuated it would be unlikely with Wakefield, too.
"I couldn't imagine having Wake come in and compete for a job," Valentine said. "I can't imagine it or even Tek, for that matter. It's not something I can imagine."
The sentiment falls in line with Ben Cherington's approach during the winter meetings. At that point, the general manager hinted the team wouldn't offer a contract "if there's not a real role" for the duo.
Since the end of the 2011 season, Wakefield has publicly expressed a yearning to return for his 18th year in Boston. The 45-year-old knuckleballer remains seven wins shy of leapfrogging Roger Clemens as the franchise's all-time leader in wins.
But the writing was on the wall for Varitek in December, when the Red Sox signed catcher Kelly Shoppach to back up Jarrod Saltalamacchia. With Ryan Lavarnway tapped as the heir apparent, it seemingly leaves Varitek out of the mix.
"I haven't talked to Tek basically because he's not on the roster," Valentine said. "I'm trying to think if I ever had a guy with a 'C' on their chest come in as a non-roster. The fact of the matter is right now, he's not on the roster, so if he came to spring training, I would think he'd be a non-roster player."