Sports Illustrated and ESPN are both reporting that Red Sox team captain Jason Varitek will return to the team for the 2011 season, agreeing to terms with the club on a one-year, $2 million deal that will contain an additional $300,000 in incentives, based on playing time.

Varitek, 39, had not been offered arbitration by the team prior to last week’s deadline, and reports hinted the Los Angeles Dodgers might be interested in luring him westward to serve as a part-time catcher.

This is the way this situation was supposed to resolve itself. It was impossible to imagine Varitek wearing another uniform for the last year, or two, of his career.

I had visions of Dwight Evans, who signed a one-year deal with the Baltimore Orioles when the Red Sox turned their back on him at the end of his career. “Dewey” spent an inglorious season in Baltimore, and regretted having spent that single season in a uniform other than his beloved Red Sox.

I imagined interviewing Varitek ten years from now, having him tell me that he regretted having gone to the Dodgers for one last (smallish) pay day.

Instead, Varitek will return to the Sox for his 15th season, backing up and mentoring new backstop Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who will replace C/1B Victor Martinez after he signed a free-agent contract with the Tigers last week.

But V-Mart’s departure cleared the way for V-Tek to return to Boston.

Saltalamacchia’s reaction to the news? “That’s great… (I’m) thrilled he’s coming back.”

So is Red Sox Nation, Jarrod!

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