Bobby Valentine Says Red Sox May Go Without Captain in 2012, If Jason Varitek Doesn’t Return

Bobby Valentine Says Red Sox May Go Without Captain in 2012, If Jason Varitek Doesn't ReturnJason Varitek's return to the Red Sox is looking less and less likely with each passing day.

Now the team's longest-tenure player, since Tim Wakefield's retirement last week, Varitek has still not reported to spring training nor has he responded to the Red Sox invitation to join the team this Spring down in Fort Myers, Florida.

Tek's absence has left a void on the Boston roster, as the team's captain spot may be left empty if the Sox backstop of 14-years doesn't return to the team for 2012.

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine addressed the issue on Wednesday, explaining that he hasn't planned to name a new captain if Varitek decides not to return.

"If Varitek doesn't show up? I hadn't planned on [a captain]," Valentine said. "If the team thinks a captain's a cool thing, I think that could be considered. It's not that I don't think a captain's necessary. Then again, I don't know that it's so necessary you can't live without it. Who was the captain last year in St. Louis? They didn't have one. So you can win a world championship without a captain."

After seven seasons of looking to No. 33's jersey for the captain's patch, it appears that the 2012 season may not hold a "C" in the Red Sox future. Valentine did, however, mention the importance of filling the leadership role left in Varitek's absence.

"If in fact Jason Varitek is not on the team, I think there's a lot of void that needs to be filled," Valentine said. "From what I gathered — and I was never in uniform with him — but I think he brought a lot to the table even when he wasn't playing. Part of what he did was bridge the gap of understanding between catchers and pitchers."

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