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Shoppach Signing Could Mean Bye To Varitek

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Kelly Shoppach, Tampa Bay Rays (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Sport)

Kelly Shoppach, Tampa Bay Rays (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Sport)

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BOSTON (AP) _ Kelly Shoppach and the Boston Red Sox have agreed to a $1.35 million, one-year contract that brings the free-agent catcher back to his original team.

The move Tuesday likely ends Jason Varitek’s 15-year tenure behind the plate in Boston.

The 31-year-old Shoppach batted .176 with 11 homers and 22 RBIs in 87 games last season, his second with Tampa Bay. But he showed a strong arm on defense, throwing out 36.6 percent of runners trying to steal.

The Red Sox drafted Shoppach in the second round in 2001 and traded him to Cleveland in January 2006. He hit 21 homers for the Indians in 2008 and is a .224 career hitter.

Shoppach joins Jarrod Saltalamacchia behind the plate in Boston. Saltalamacchia teamed last season with the 39-year-old Varitek, now a free agent. Varitek batted.221 in 68 games and threw out 14 percent of attempted base stealers.

     (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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