Varitek shrugs off nagging injury
Red Sox's captain dealing with neck, shoulder pain
WASHINGTON -- The only thing new about Jason Varitek's latest ache or pain is that NESN cameras captured images of the catcher being worked on by trainer Paul Lessard during Tuesday night's win over the Nationals.
As it turns out, Varitek has had some discomfort in his left shoulder and left side of his neck for a while now and he simply never said anything about it to the media.
"It's OK," said Varitek. "I don't think you can play my position and not have things that get banged up. It's all right. It's nothing new. Paul wasn't necessarily working on my shoulder, he was working on my neck. It's kind of a combination of both."
Varitek never talks about injuries. Instead, he plays through them. So again, Varitek was in the Red Sox's lineup on Wednesday, batting sixth.
How long has Varitek been dealing with his current ailments? He cut off that line of questioning in mid-sentence.
"That's all I'm going to say about it," Varitek said. "I could go down a list, and if I [sat] because of everything that ever bothered me, I would never play. The most important thing is that I get out on the field."
After getting off to a strong start offensively, belting 10 homers in the first two months, Varitek has cooled off lately. Boston's captain had gone 51 at-bats without a home run entering Wednesday's game, and he had a .196 average for June, with five RBIs.
Two of those RBIs came in Tuesday's 11-3 win vs. the Nationals, when Varitek broke a tie in the seventh with a sacrifice fly and added an RBI single in Boston's six-run eruption in the eighth.
If physical nags have had an impact on Varitek's offense, he wouldn't acknowledge it.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona reiterated that there are no big injury concerns surrounding the captain.
"The left side of his neck is a little stiff," Francona said. "Maybe the sixth or the seventh, he gets the hot stuff on it. He's been doing that for 11 or 12 days."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.