Captain Comeback

Ah, the first official workout for pitchers and catchers. Spring is officially here. At least for those of us in Florida. Anyway, Jed Lowrie and J.D. Drew were among the new faces in camp today, two days in advance of pitchers/catchers reporting date.

Jason Varitek spoke today, marking his first comments since he signed his new deal on Feb. 6.

There was a big audience for the captain:

Doubts of whether he’d be back?I wouldn’t say
there wasn’t any doubt,” Varitek said. “But there was never ever doubt in what I wanted and in
the parts of making sure that I maintained the fact that that’s where my heart
is, and that’s where I’ve always wanted to be.”

What was the winter like? “I continued to
have to do what I had to do. I had to train, get myself ready, I had to go
through those things, regardless of what was going on and realized I had to put
myself in a position to be ready to play baseball come spring.”

 More thoughts on getting through it with a resolution: “I’m just glad at
this point it’s over with. I’m ecstatic than I’m a Red Sox. I’m ecstatic with
the fact that I have the peace of mind to know that I’m going to be in this
uniform. I get closer to retiring in this uniform. Not saying that I see
retirement any time soon but it allows me that opportunity to do what’s most
important to me is to wear this “C” for this group of fans and people in this
organization, and we’ve spent a lot of time building championships.”

Did the Jan. 23 meeting with John Henry play a role in the re-signing? “I think you’d
really have to ask Mr. Henry that. I don’t think it hurt the situation. I think
it may have accelerated some things. As a player, I have an agent that does a
job for me and in this instance, I felt I needed to be involved. You look at it
this way, maybe it did help. But I really can’t answer that for sure. I just
know that finally it gets me back in this uniform and it gives me that
opportunity to retire in this uniform that much closer.”

Second guess himself? “Not really.
Ultimately I got what was important to me, which was being able to maintain
legacy and maintain the opportunity to be here and know that there was a
commitment back from this organization that I’m going to be here. That was the
most important thing to me from the get-go. I’m just happy. I’m happy that I’m
here, I’m happy that I’m a player in this organization still, and happy to have
the opportunity with what this team has coming into camp to get back to a
chance to win another championship.”

38 Comments

Yeah! Tek is back! I’m happy – if I’m reading correctly in his words – that he isn’t bitter over how things turned out. I think it appears that he is seeing that the end of his career is near and that he wants to end it wearing the Red Sox “B” on his hat and the “C” on his chest. The pictures of him in the Globe today made it look like he camp into camp in pretty good shape. My gut feeling is that his numbers will be better then last year; I think he feels he has something to prove. Good luck to him!

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Dbenj: I will forever defend you in your briefs (oops I meant AND your briefs!! my bad blonde!)
WELCOME HOME TEK!!

Brian, (Re your comment on the previous thread), you’re right Tek has a lot to prove, and I hope he does it. If he hits .250 I’ll be ecstatic, esp. if a lot of guys have rebound years the way we’re hoping. .250 would almost be icing on the cake.
I’m glad that pitchers are already starting to take notice of Smoltz. If they continue to do so, they (and we) will benefit greatly.
I am looking forward to everone else reporting in, as we should have a read on how well Mike Lowell is doing, and if he will be Opening Day ready. I was happy to see Lowrie arriving early–I hope it gets him out of the gate quickly, he wins the SS job, and has a good year with us. GO SOX!

Hey guys, I’m going to be in and out the next couple of days. My mom fell and broke her left hip last night. I spent the night and up until about an hour ago at the hospital. She has to have surgery but must 1st be cleared by a cardio man. She’s still in the E.R. I’m very worried. but when I came home a little while ago, Dbenj made me smile, You are all good at that!

I’m on my way back up there now but rest assured I’ll be back here later on looking for some smiles and sunshine,
See y’all later.. Keep a good thought for my Mom, Ann.
Ellen.

Here it is. First televised game!
Wednesday, February 25@ Twins7:05 PM NESN
I see nine Spring games on NESN.
It’s likely all will be on MLB.TV as well maybe with a few extra to sweeten the Spring! Great value for $14.95 (the premium quality was not available last year until the regular season) enjoy.

Hey! Ellenc!

Your taking care of my briefs is one of the best offers I have had in a long time (lol). Obviously, you have my thoughts and prayers for your Mom’s return to health.

Obviously, I am thrilled at the reunification between the Captain and the Sox. He really is a class guy, and, notwithstanding his offensive production, the Sox are fortunate to have him. Now lets see if he can put the difficulties of last season and the off-season behind him. It certainly would help the Sox title efforts if they got more performance out of the catcher position this year.

Happy Valentine’s Day one and all.

Greg1969…

I hope Varitek gets off to a good start. That will take some pressure off of Varitek at the plate. The motivating factor of proving his critics wrong can work for Varitek. Varitek is the one that was most dissapointed in his performance last year…I can only assume that. It sounds like Varitek is ready to go in 2009 and forget about 2008.

Ellen…

Sorry too here about your mother. Breaking a hip at any age is tough but especially at that age.

Greg..

I am also anxious for Mike Lowell too show up. I do not envy him, he has too drive across Alligator Alley. Lowell is a gamer! Francona calls him the ultimate professional. Lowell is one of favorites on the team. He was trying too play on 1 leg last year, it hurt me watching him play.

Ellen,
My Mom broke her hip at age 83 and had a hip replacement. She’s still getting along well at 87.5. At the time of her operation, I told her the only advantage would better radio reception. She hasn?t flown much nor expects to so airports are no problem. Also when my departed Dad had radiation for prostate cancer he never glowed in the dark. What a disappointment!!!

Gotta think Tek will hit better from the left side this year. Otherwise it may be time to try hitting full time from the right side. Since Bard hits R only, maybe Kottaras gets a good look in the Spring. Can he beat out Bard? He’ll need to be better defensively than he started Spring 2008. If I remember correctly, he had two PBs in the first three games and it wasn’t catching Wakefield! He’s out of options so something needs to happen.

Kramer,

The catching situation is not that good. Bard or Kottaras are weak. Bard was a disaster back in 2006. He only lasted a month. The last game he caught that season ( late April in Cleveland ) was comical. I almost felt bad for the guy. I could see Wakefield on the mound and he was saying too himself, catch the darn ball. Bringing Bard back was not one of Theo’s better moves! Of course John Flaherty is always available. He hated catching Wakefield, it drove him too retirement. LOL!!

Ellen – I’m sorry to hear about your mother! I hope that all goes well! I’ll keep her in my thoughts and prayers. Ian – great article on the Red Sox backup catchers over on MLB.com.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Ellen, I hope your mother recovers well. Thinking of you and her.
I couldn’t believe Theo brought Bard back, esp with Wake still on the staff? Either Bard showed Theo something that made him think he would be valuable, or he’s a glutton for punishment! (I think it’s the latter!) You’re right, though, that game with Wake was SAD.
Kottaras out of options eh? Now for our next contestant– Dusty Brown, come on down! Thanks for playing, “So You Want to Be a Red Sox Catcher”… :) :/

Greg…

Certain moments in Red Sox history I will never ever forget. Watching Bard try too catch Wakefield that night along Lake Erie was comical. It was one of the times I thought too myself, I couldn’t do any worse. LOL!! Bard disgraced himself that night. Only Bard I want on the team is Daniel Bard, the hard throwing righty coming out of the bullpen.

Perhaps Rick Cerone will get a cameo appearance behind the plate. Gary Allenson????

Couldn’t agree with you more, Brian. Did you read Ian’s peice on Red Sox catchers? Bard’s explanation seemed weak, at best, to me.

That piece on our catchers gave an interesting take on Brown and Kottaras. Sounds like both are motivated to make the squad this year. We’ll see if that makes a difference–they probably would do better than Bard, as well! :/

I’d happily settle for Rich Gedman for that cameo behind the plate!

Greg…

Don’t really know too much about Dusty Brown. I’m guessing Brown and Kottaras know the backup catching spot is open and the best player will win. Bard did play in S.D. and Magadan was the hitting coach with the Padres. Perhaps Bard’s bat will win him a spot with Boston.

I try too read all of Ian’s pieces, great stuff as usual by Ian.

Greg…

Gedman. lol. As long as Walt Hriniak isn’t around. Gedman had a couple of good years in Boston. My favorite catcher was Tony Pena. He always had a smile on his face. One of the few Red Sox players back then that seemed like a decent guy. Pena at the end of his career couldn’t hit a lick. Alot like Varitek last year. Pena would swing so hard, his helmet was always falling off his head. I had mixed emotions the night/early a.m. when Pena hit that H.R. against Zane Smith. Boston had a tough playoff loss but was happy for Pena. Then again watching Kevin Kennedy suffer was PRICELESS!

Brian, Ian was saying in his piece that both Kottaras and Brown were getting some experience in the minors catching Charlie Zink. (I don’t know if that will help them, as I get the impression that no two knuckleballs, let alone knuckleballers, are alike!) Hey, at least it would give them the opprtunity to catch Lugo’s “wild pitches” ;). Hmmm…

I liked Pena also. But hey, almost any of them would do if we are thinking about catching and not hitting…hmmm…

Greg…

You mentioned Charlie Zink, oh noooooo. lol. That kid got smoked in that start he made. Next time Zink makes it too Fenway, it should be as a visitor. A paying customer or as an opposing player!

Lugo my oh my. 18 million ( 9 million each season ) coming his way in 2009 and 2010. Must be nice! I wonder what will happen too him ? He’ll probably have a good year, just because……

Greg….

Quite true about the lack of hitting. Pena will fit in just fine.

Lugo would almost HAVE to have a good year, otherwise he’ll be grabbing some bench somewhere else also. He’ll at least not need a stimulus pkg.!
I understand that that Zink was reassigned. We’ll see if he in fact is in another uniform!

Greg…

Zink being reassigned is a wonderful thing. Zink is nothing but a A.A.A. pitcher. If you need too know about Richmond, Va. Columbus, Oh. Scranton-Wilkes-Barre ask Zink. LOL!! Zink was given alot of run support during that start and couldn’t even get too the 5th inning. Pathetic.

John Henry writes the checks and he would love too see Lugo and his 9 million on the field. As Francona said it usually plays itself out. Lowrie was errorless during the reg. season and played hurt at the same time. I don’t think Lowrie is the long term answer at s.s. but he is a better option than Lugo. In 2 years in Boston, Lugo has done….Zip….Zero…Nada….

At least Lugo didn’t COST us the 07 WS! I’d like to think the only place he can go is up, but I’m not sure I want to test that theory!
The Transactions page confirmed that Zink had been DFA’ed. He has an invite to ST.

Since Zink is that well-traveled, maybe he has a future as a tour guide! ;)

Greg…

Zink as a tour guide, quite funny. Perhaps Lugo can go with him and they can get lost together. True about Lugo, he can only go up!

I’d like to THINK he can only go up, but I’m not sure of that. The “optimist” in me (as in”I’m optimistic he’ll blow it”) makes me think he will still find a way to make it worse.

Greg…

We’re all hoping Lugo to do well but I have my doubts. He hasn’t shown me anything in the 2 previous years. He is dead weight on the Red Sox. He is the only player on the team that I have no confidence in. Even Varitek I have some confidence in. Of course that might change come late April. I hope not.

You’re right, Brian. If we needed any proof that the Curse was broken, Lugo not costing us in 07 was it! I don’t have much more confidence in Bard or Lopez (he did not cost us in 07, either, but he tried!). Compared to Bard, I’ll take Tek, including when he doesn’t hit.

Greg..

Lopez is a guy I thought would have been gone a couple of years ago. Somehow someway he finds himself on the Red Sox in 2009. The Red Sox really like him alot, why I don’t know. Does he have pictures on anyone? LOL!!

Not sure we want to test THAT theory, either, Brian! (Is he the one who took the picture of Tom Brady in a Yankees cap? :/) I cannot fathom what they see in him.

Greg…

I’m guessing most Red Sox fans don’t understand the love affair the Red Sox have with Lopez. I certainly don’t understand it. I believe he is making more than 1 million in 2009. Lopez did well against lefties last year. In 2007 he couldn’t get any lefty out, only righties back in 2007. It seems like Lopez has been on the Red Sox for years and years. I am not a fan of specialists, never have been and never will be. Remember the Yankees got Mike Myers too face Ortiz. How did that work out for the Yankees? I think Myers is out of baseball.

As I mentioned in a previus thread, I also hate the “specialist”, but then again, I was a fan of the pitchers who would throw CGs. Shows how much the game has changed when we have these “specialty pitchers”, and we worry about “pitch counts”.

Ellen, sorry to hear about your Mom. My thoughts and prayers will be with her.

I have a feeling Tek will have a good year at the plate. Not great, but good enough. I’ll go out on a limb and pencil him in for .260, 16 HR and 65 rbi. He’s relaxed, tanned, in great shape and has no contract worries or marital woes. What’s not to like?

I hope you’re right, Arnie. If Tek puts up stats like that, the Red Sox will be in really good shape. What’s not to like, indeed! GO SOX!

Arnie…

I was thinking almost the same numbers for Varitek. The avg. I put out there was .250 but basically the same thing you said. Varitek has alot too prove at the plate. Show everyone he can still hit!

Greg…

I was never a fan of a specialists. Get relievers that can get righties and lefties out. Papelbon Masterson, Delcarmen, Ramirez ( lefties did hit him hard last year ) Oki. Sounds like a strength!! Putting together a pen is not an easy thing but Theo has done a great job!

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