Jason Varitek found himself in a similar position Thursday — behind the plate at Fenway Park.
Varitek served as the homevplate umpire as the Boston Red Sox held their first intrasquad game of Major League Baseball’s Summer Camp. The former Red Sox captain, now a special assistant, called balls and strikes while wearing the traditional umpire blue.
Varitek’s performance even gathered some praise from Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke and pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, who pitched four innings during the scrimmage.
“I forgot, actually, and had to do a double take and saw it was him,” Roenicke said of Varitek, per MassLive’s Chris Cotillo. “He actually did a nice job umpiring.”
Jason Varitek really can do it all… pic.twitter.com/Na1AmCfJpn
— NESN (@NESN) July 9, 2020
Tek behind the plate… Umping! ? pic.twitter.com/DIMcJcQ9IJ
— Red Sox (@RedSox) July 9, 2020
Roenicke told reporters it was important for the club to provide a situation that was as close to normal as possible, ultimately helping both pitchers and hitters get the feel similar to a real contest.
“I thought he did good. I liked it,” Eovaldi said of Varitek, per Cotillo. “I like having him back there behind the plate and felt like he was making some really good calls for me.
“I felt like he looked good in the uniform,” Eovaldi added, jokingly.
The Red Sox officially will begin their season July 24 against the Baltimore Orioles.