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Sox praise Varitek as model teammate

Pitchers and catchers alike say the selfless captain was a difference-maker for them

Updated: February 28, 2012, 5:47 PM ET
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- When pitchers and catchers reported to Red Sox spring training earlier this month and Jason Varitek was not in camp, it was a strange feeling.

Even though most players thought the captain would retire, they still had a feeling he could walk through that clubhouse door at some point. Varitek will be at JetBlue Park at Fenway South on Thursday -- to announce his retirement after 15 seasons with the Red Sox.

"Great teammate," Red Sox DH David Ortiz said Tuesday ...

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