The Red Sox offered Jason Varitek a minor league deal. Maybe.

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The Red Sox don’t need Jason Varitek. They have Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach.  Meanwhile, Varitek has had no known interest from any other team.  Things look grim for his future.

But the Red Sox are at least offering him a temporary lifeline: Jon Heyman reports that they’ve offered a minor league deal with a spring training invite.  Though there is some debate here: Ian Browne hears differently: that there has been no invite yet and the team is waiting to see what Varitek wants to do.

The smart money is that — if there is an invite now or soon — it’s out of courtesy, so that Varitek has someplace to report and to work out in February, giving him a few extra weeks to figure out what he’s doing or to latch on with another team. But given his .221/.300/.423 line in 2011 — and his almost complete lack of defensive value as a catcher anymore — it’s not like there are many teams who would be willing to sign him.

Perhaps the Sox could use however long he has in spring training to persuade Varitek to pull a Posada and bow out gracefully and/or accept a coaching or front office position with the team.

UPDATE: According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said that the club has not made a formal offer to Varitek.

Nick Pivetta to rejoin Phillies’ rotation

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Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Nick Pivetta will rejoin the Phillies’ rotation, starting Tuesday’s series opener at home against the Cardinals. Vince Velasquez will remain in the bullpen.

Pivetta, 26, allowed 17 earned runs on 31 hits and eight walks with 16 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings across his first four starts of the season. The performance resulted in a demotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. In six starts there, Pivetta had a much better 3.41 ERA with a 50/20 K/BB ratio in 37 innings of work.

Velasquez, 26, was solid as a starter, posting a 3.99 ERA across six starts. However, he averaged under five innings and 92 pitches per start. The right-hander tossed two scoreless innings out of the bullpen on Friday against the Brewers but was torched for four runs in two-thirds of an inning on Sunday. Mixed results, to say the least. The Phillies are trying to do what they can with their bullpen, currently missing David Robertson, Tommy Hunter, Pat Neshek, and Vìctor Arano.