Evans Clinchy
Monday February 20th, 2012

Jason Varitek was absent today as pitchers and catchers reported to Boston Red Sox spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., and a source tells Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston that Varitek "will decide soon" about his future.

The Red Sox have offered Varitek a minor league contract and an invitation to big-league camp, but Varitek, who turns 40 in April, may opt to retire rather than accept a reduced role in Boston. The Red Sox already have three catchers in Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Kelly Shoppach and Ryan Lavarnway, and they're unlikely to need a fourth.

"I haven't heard that we should get his uniform ready," manager Bobby Valentine said of Varitek. Varitek played in only 68 games for the Red Sox last season, batting .221 with 11 home runs. The Sox' longtime captain has not been offered a big-league job by any other club; he may be left with no choice but to retire.

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