BOSTON (CBS) – For the Boston Red Sox, it will be hard to say good-bye to Jason Varitek.
“He’ll be missed a lot,” Josh Beckett said from Fort Myers on Tuesday. “It’s kind of sad to see him go, but it’s a hell of a ride for him. I’m thankful to have been able to play with him.”
“Great teammate,” Sox DH David Ortiz said of Varitek. “It was fun; it was a good ride being Tek’s teammate.”
“He was a man’s man,” said new manager Bobby Valentine, who never managed Varitek but knows what he brings to the table. “He was a big hitter when you needed, leader of a pitching staff… he was able to beat up Alex (Rodriguez). I mean all of that stuff is good stuff. He was exactly what he was supposed to be.”
Varitek will officially announce his retirement from baseball on Thursday, after a 15-year career with the Red Sox. He was invited to Spring Training, but is choosing to hang up his cleats instead of fight three younger catchers for a spot.
Ortiz said it was very unusual to report to camp and not see Varitek, who was the first person he would see in the morning.
“It’s something, we’re used to; to see Tek walking around and doing his thing. It’s been awhile since you walked in here and the first person was Tek. Walking in here and not seeing him was something unexpected,” said Ortiz.
One thing the Red Sox will miss is Varitek’s leadership. He served as team captain since 2005, and while many see him as a “silent leader,” Ortiz said that is not true.
“He did say a lot, he just always found the right moment to say it,” said Ortiz. “Tek was somebody that I think this organization will need forever. He’s the kind of person this organization needs to keep close, because he adds things. Good things.”