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Jason Varitek was back behind the plate at Fenway Park on Thursday, in a very different role

Jason Varitek played for the Red Sox from 1997 to 2011, but was the umpire for Thursday's scrimmage.
Jason Varitek played for the Red Sox from 1997 to 2011, but was the umpire for Thursday's scrimmage.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Jason Varitek has been behind the plate at Fenway Park wearing shin guards, a chest protector, and a mask plenty of times. But this was his first time as an umpire.

Varitek called balls and strikes during Thursday’s intrasquad game wearing a full umpire uniform that home clubhouse manager Tom McLaughlin ordered for him.

“Thought he looked good in the uniform,” said Nate Eovaldi, who worked four scoreless innings. “I thought he did good. I liked it. I felt he was making some really good calls for me.”

Varitek pumped a fist in the air in the first inning to emphatically punch out J.D. Martinez when he took a two-strike fastball down the middle from Eovaldi.

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Manager Ron Roenicke said it was Varitek’s idea to call balls and strikes so the game would seem as normal as possible. The base coaches also helped out.

Jason Varitek (left) chatted with catcher Christian Vazquez.
Jason Varitek (left) chatted with catcher Christian Vazquez. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Varitek, a special assistant in baseball operations, will be part of the coaching staff for much of this season.


Peter Abraham can be reached at peter.abraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.