Varitek wants to retire with Boston

Updated: February 15, 2009, 9:27 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Jason Varitek says he is "ecstatic" to be returning to the Red Sox for a 13th season and hopes to end his career in Boston despite difficult offseason negotiations.

Varitek
Varitek

The catcher signed a one-year, $5 million contract with an option for 2010 in early February.

Varitek and his agent, Scott Boras, turned down an arbitration offer from the Red Sox in early December that would have paid him more, but he did not get much interest from other teams as a free agent after a poor offensive season.

Boston's captain batted a career-low .220 with 13 homers and 43 RBIs last year.

A deal was reached with the Red Sox after Varitek and Boras met with team owner John Henry. In his first public comments since re-signing, Varitek said he felt he needed to be personally involved.

Boston's only other catcher with considerable major league experience is Josh Bard, signed as a free agent after spending the last three seasons with San Diego. He began the 2006 season with the Red Sox, who obtained him from Cleveland in an offseason trade, but played just seven games before being traded to the Padres after having problems catching Tim Wakefield's knuckleball.

Varitek is the Red Sox career leader in games at catcher with 1,273. Carlton Fisk, who also played with the Chicago White Sox, is second with 990 games with Boston. Varitek was obtained on July 31, 1997, in one of the most lopsided trades in Red Sox history -- they also acquired pitcher Derek Lowe from Seattle for reliever Heathcliff Slocumb.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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