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Friday, December 18, 2009
Varitek acknowledges injuries

By Gordon Edes
ESPNBoston.com

Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, who turns 38 one week into the 2010 season, struck a positive tone while discussing his transition from everyday starter to a backup player next season, saying he got used to the role in the two months after the trade for Victor Martinez and is fine with it.

Ray Bourque/Jason Varitek
Bruins legend Ray Bourque and Jason Varitek get some ice time at Fenway Park on Friday.

Varitek acknowledged a couple of health issues he battled last season, including a bulging disk in his neck and a broken big toe he sustained while blocking a ball against the Anaheim Angels, on top of dealing with a partial labrum tear in his left shoulder he'd sustained previously. But in typical fashion, he refused to attribute his struggles at the plate last season -- in particular, a second half in which he batted just .157 with 1 home run and 13 RBIs -- to those injuries.

Varitek said he has been working out since the beginning of November and expects to be ready for the start of the season. He is in the last year of his contract with the Red Sox, having exercised a $3 million player option after the Sox declined to trigger the $5 million option they held on his deal, but said he did not know yet whether this would be his last season.

"I've got to listen to my body,'' Varitek said. "Now I feel strong and continuing to get stronger, so I feel really good. And if I'm able to maintain that, I don't know how long I'll play. But if my health is not there, that will be the determining point before anything.''

Here is a full transcript of his conversation with reporters Friday at Fenway Park, where he took a turn on the Winter Classic ice with Bruins legend Bobby Orr:

Gordon Edes covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.