Extra Bases

Varitek exercises option for 2010

Jason Varitek has exercised his $3 million option for 2010.

“We’re happy to have Jason back and we look forward to a good year from him in 2010,” Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said. “He means an awful lot to the organization on and off the field. He helps solidify our catching position also and is a big asset to the pitching staff.

UPDATE, 5:29 p.m.: Here is the release from the Sox:

The Boston Red Sox today were notified that catcher Jason Varitek has exercised his 2010 contract option with the club.

The Red Sox announced on Monday that they declined to exercise the 2010 team option on Varitek’s contract. The catcher had until today to exercise or decline the 2010 player option on that contract.

Varitek, 37, was behind the plate in 108 games for the Red Sox in 2009, including 106 starts. He led the American League with a 3.87 catcher ERA and ranked second among AL backstops with a .997 fielding percentage (3 errors/896 total chances). At the plate, the switch-hitter batted .209 (76-for-364) with 14 home runs and 51 RBI.

Acquired by Boston from Seattle on July 31, 1997, Varitek has hit .259 (1,232-for-4,765) with 175 home runs and 705 RBI in 1,439 career Major League games over parts of 13 seasons with the Red Sox. He has been behind the plate in a club-record 1,381 contests and ranks among franchise all-time leaders in overall games played (9th), doubles (8th, 290), home runs (12th), RBI (15th) and walks (15th, 583).

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