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Varitek to play a role with Red Sox in spring training

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  January 11, 2013 07:38 PM

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Former Red Sox captain Jason Varitek, now a special assistant to general manger Ben Cherington, will be around the team during spring training as a coach and adviser.

“We’re figuring out the exact schedule but Tek will be there,” Cherington said. “He’ll work with the catchers and get a taste of everything. It’s a great situation for us.”

Varitek retired in 2011 after spending 15 seasons with the Sox.

“We’d be crazy not to take advantage of his experience,” manager John Farrell said. “Once he lets us know the dates he can be there, we’ll map it out.”

The Red Sox have a number of young catching prospects — Ryan Lavarnway, Dan Butler, Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart — who could benefit from Varitek’s knowledge.

Some other notes:

• Cherington said that, “negotiations continue” with Mike Napoli. The Red Sox agreed to terms on a three-year, $39 million deal with the first baseman in early December. An issue with his physical led to talks to restructure the deal. Cherington admitted that free agents options are limited at this point and he is hopeful of eventually coming to an agreement with Napoli. The Nationals are willing to trade Mike Morse, an outfielder with experience at first base. He could become an option if the Red Sox grow weary of trying to strike a deal with Napoli.

• Former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, now the president of the Cubs, was at Fenway Park for function to benefit his charitable foundation. Epstein, Cherington, Farrell, Orioles manager Buck Showalter, Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen and Hall of Fame writer Peter Gammons participated in panel discussions and took questions from the crowd. The foundation’s annual Hot Stove / Cool Music concert is tonight at Paradise Rock Club.

• The Sox extended their player development agreement with Double A Portland for four years. It now runs through 2018.

• Red Sox chairman Tom Werner will receive the Dave Winfield Humanitarian award on Saturday in Los Angeles at the “In The Spirit Of The Game” awards.

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