Tito underscores that Salty is clear No. 1

April, 1, 2011
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Responding to a question about catcher Jason Varitek, Red Sox manager Terry Francona reinforced the notion that the team plans on Jarrod Saltalamacchia to handle the bulk of the team's catching load this season.

Francona was asked before the game Friday how much he thought Varitek, who turns 39 on April 11, is capable of catching this season.

"If we find that out,'' Francona said, "that means something went wrong with Salty. It's not in our plan to find out. Jason has caught a lot of games. We're pretty comfortable with the role he is in, and I think he is, too.''

For 10 straight seasons (2000-09), Varitek had been the team's starting catcher, more Opening Day starts than anyone on the team's current roster and most ever by a Sox catcher. Last year, Victor Martinez caught the opener, and on Friday afternoon Saltalamacchia will be behind the plate for left-hander Jon Lester.

Saltalamacchia started Opening Day each of the last two seasons for Texas, last year delivering a walkoff single to give the Rangers a 5-4 win over the Blue Jays. His '09 opener was also memorable, as he hit a home run and drove in three runs in a 9-1 win over the Indians.

Gordon Edes

ESPN Staff Writer



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