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Jason Varitek Exercises Contract Option for 2010

Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek has exercised his $3 million player option, and will return to the team in 2010. On Monday, the Sox chose not to pick up the $5 million team option for Varitek, which triggered the player option. The Sox picked up the $7 million contract option on their other catcher, Victor Martinez, and later named him the team’s starting catcher for next season.

As a result, Varitek will enter a season as the backup catcher for the first time since 1998, when Scott Hatteberg was in town.

Red Sox GM Theo Epstein appears happy to have Tek back.

“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 told the Globe. “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.”

In 2009, Varitek, who turns 38 in April, had the worst season of his major league career when he hit .209 with 14 HRs and 51 RBI in 109 games.

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