With spring training right around the corner Jason Varitek doesn’t have a job and agent Scott Boras said yesterday that the 40-year-old catcher “is deliberating what he wants to do.”
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe makes it clear that “there’s no room on the Red Sox roster for him” after they signed Kelly Shoppach to platoon with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and speculates that Varitek is pondering retirement after 14 seasons.
Ivan Rodriguez also remains unsigned, so Varitek may not even be a team’s main emergency target if a catcher gets hurt during spring training. Varitek hit .221 with a .300 on-base percentage and .423 slugging percentage in 68 games last season, which is actually right around average production for a catcher, but he also threw out just 14 percent of steal attempts as teams ran wild on him.
Astros pitcher Charlie Morton left Sunday’s start against the Angels after just one inning due to discomfort in his right shoulder, the team announced. Morton yielded a one-out double to Justin Upton, who later scored on a wild pitch. He averages about 96 MPH on his fastball but sat in the 92-94 MPH range in his one inning of work.
Morton, 34, went on the disabled list with right shoulder discomfort on August 29 and returned on September 8. It’s bad news for the Astros, who may have to go into the playoffs without him. If that is to be the case, Lance McCullers would take Morton’s spot in the rotation. It’s also bad news for Morton, who is a free agent after the season and figures to be one of the more sought-after starters.
Morton entered Sunday’s start 15-3 with a 3.15 ERA with a 195/63 K/BB ratio in 163 innings of work.