Jason Varitek Doesn’t Report to Fort Myers, Josh Beckett Prepares to Adapt Without Catcher

by NESN Staff

February 19, 2012

Jason Varitek Doesn't Report to Fort Myers, Josh Beckett Prepares to Adapt Without CatcherFORT MYERS, Fla. ?? There was no sign of Jason Varitek on the JetBlue premises on Sunday.

As pitchers and catchers reported, the longtime Red Sox catcher ?? who was reportedly offered a minor-league deal ?? didn't show, leading to speculation Varitek could be mulling retirement. Since 1998, Varitek was a primary presence in spring training.

With Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Kelly Shoppach and Ryan Lavarnway competing at catcher, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said he isn't expecting any grand entrances from Varitek.

"I could be surprised if he [reported]," Valentine said. "But I don't have any expectation because I haven't heard that we should get his uniform ready."

Life without Varitek is a reality Josh Beckett will need to adapt to. During his six-year career with the Red Sox, Beckett has thrown almost exclusively to Varitek behind the plate.

Now, in preparation for the change, Beckett is working to establish sound communication with Saltalamacchia.

"I don't think you're going to find anybody in here that's played with [Varitek], that's going to say they're not going to miss him," Beckett said. "If 'Tek doesn't come back, he's going to be missed severely both in the clubhouse and off the field. I won't say me especially, but for me, for sure."

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