Red Sox name Jason Varitek special assistant to the GM

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The Red Sox officially welcomed Jason Varitek back to the fold Thursday, and his title comes as no surprise. He’ll serve as a special assistant to the general manager, the team announced.

GM Ben Cherington said Varitek will be involved in “personnel decisions, evaluations, and mentorship and instruction of young players.”

Varitek retired this spring after 15 seasons with the Red Sox. A three-time All-Star and two-time World Series winner, he hit .256/.341/.435 with 193 homers and 757 RBI in 1,546 games. He likely has a future as a manager if he wants it, but this lesser role will allow him to be in baseball and still spend plenty of time with his family.

The Angels to lower the right field wall

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The Los Angeles Angels announced today that they will lower the right field wall at Angel Stadium from 18 feet to eight feet.

The stated reason: to make room for a new out-of-town scoreboard and “philosophical changes.” Obviously, though, helping out lefty power hitters is on the agenda too. As it was, Angel Stadium was in the bottom ten of all parks in allowing homers for lefties.

One of their own lefties is Kole Calhoun, who is a pull hitter. Another one could be Shohei Ohtani, who is a lefty hitter. Although, as a righty pitcher, that could harm him against opposing lefty batters. I’m assuming, though, that the Angels ran a bunch of numbers to establish that this move helps them more than it hurts them, or else they wouldn’t be doing it.