Varitek an­nounces his re­tire­ment

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports -

FORT MY­ERS, FLA. ( AP) | Ja­son Varitek of­fi­cially an­nounced his re­tire­ment, bring­ing to an end a beloved 15-year ca­reer with the Bos­ton Red Sox.

Varitek made the an­nounce­ment Thurs­day night at the team’s spring train­ing fa­cil­ity in Fort My­ers, Fla. Many of his teammates, his par­ents, Red Sox own­er­ship and his wife and three daugh­ters all at­tended.

Varitek says he grap­pled with the decision for a long time. The Red Sox of­fered the 39-year-old a chance to come to camp on a mi­nor-league con­tract, but he de­clined. “The hard­est thing to do is walk away from your teammates,” he said.

The cap­tain helped lead the Red Sox to two World Se­ries ti­tles. He caught a record four no-hit­ters and played in three All-star games.

PI­RATES: Pitcher A.J. Bur­nett will un­dergo surgery Fri­day to re­pair a frac­tured right or­bital bone. The righthander in­jured him­self Wed­nes­day at the team’s spring train­ing fa­cil­i­ties in Bradenton, Fla., when a bunt at­tempt car­omed off his face. He flew to Pitts­burgh late Wed­nes­day to be fur­ther eval­u­ated. There is no im­me­di­ate timetable for Bur­nett’s re­turn.

The 35-year-old was ac­quired in a three-player trade with the New York Yan­kees last month and was ex­pected to join the ro­ta­tion on a team look­ing to im­prove on a 72-90 record last sea­son.

Bur­nett, a two-time World Se­ries win­ner, is also try­ing to re­ha­bil­i­tate his ca­reer. He strug­gled dur­ing his final two sea­sons in New York, post­ing a 2126 record with a 5.20 ERA. He led the ma­jor leagues with 25 wild pitches in 2011 while al­low­ing a ca­reer-high 31 homers.

RAYS: Tampa Bay’s Evan Lon­go­ria was hit by a pitch dur­ing an in­trasquad game and has a bruised right hand. The Rays said pre­cau­tion­ary Xrays on Thurs­day were neg­a­tive. The three-time All-star third base­man was struck by a pitch thrown by re­liever Matt Bush.

CUBS: Af­ter los­ing two of their top three run pro­duc­ers from last sea­son, the Cubs might open 2012 with out­fielder Al­fonso So­ri­ano as their cleanup hit­ter. Spring train­ing games don’t start un­til Sun­day, and new man­ager Dale Sveum said his lineup is still very much a work in progress. But his early thoughts in­clude newly ac­quired out­fielder David Deje­sus lead­ing off and ei­ther first base­man Bryan LaHair or So­ri­ano bat­ting fourth.

METS: Jo­han San­tana, who missed all of last sea­son while re­cov­er­ing from shoul­der surgery, faced hit­ters Thurs­day for the first time since toss­ing four in­nings in an In­struc­tional League game Sept. 30. The next step for San­tana will be his first Grape­fruit League out­ing. He is sched­uled to start a split-squad game against the St. Louis Car­di­nals on Tues­day. He will throw two in­nings or 40 pitches, which­ever comes first.

CAR­DI­NALS: St. Louis agreed to a five-year, $75 mil­lion con­tract with four-time Gold Glove catcher Yadier Molina that will keep him in St. Louis through the 2017 sea­son. The team an­nounced the de­tails Thurs­day, in­clud­ing a mu­tual, $15 mil­lion op­tion for a sixth year. The con­tract makes Molina the sec­ond- high­est paid catcher in the ma­jors, trail­ing only the Twins’ Joe Mauer (eight years, $184 mil­lion).

IN­DI­ANS: Out­fielder Grady Size­more un­der­went a min­i­mally in­va­sive lower back pro­ce­dure Thurs­day in Mi­ami. The oft-in­jured Size­more, who re-signed with the In­di­ans in the off­sea­son, re­quired a mi­crodis­cec­tomy that was per­formed by Dr. Barth Green of the Univer­sity of Mi­ami School of Medicine. He is ex­pected to miss eight to 12 weeks.


Bos­ton Red Sox catcher Ja­son Varitek wipes a tear while an­nounc­ing his re­tire­ment Thurs­day in Fort My­ers, Fla. The 39-year-old team cap­tain says “the hard­est thing to do is walk away from your teammates” af­ter 15 sea­sons.


Na­tion­als re­lief pitcher Sean Bur­nett plays catch with his son Se­bas­tian, 3, on Thurs­day at Space Coast Sta­dium in Viera, Fla.

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