The 17 innings I caught last Friday in our day-night doubleheader weren't the most I've caught in a day for the Red Sox. I caught in our 19-inning game last year -- and there wasn't a couple hours of between-game rest that day.
It wasn't that grueling, really. It's just part of being a professional catcher. Once in a while, you have a day like that.
These things happen. This time it was caused by an unfortunate circumstance because Doug Mirabelli got hurt early in the first game. Obviously, you don't want to see one of your teammates go down with an injury, but as a professional, it's your job to be ready to pick him up.
As soon as Doug pulled up with his leg injury, I think I had an instant adrenaline rush. He doesn't hobble very often and the look on his face suggested something was wrong. He wanted to go back out there but he couldn't. So we made the switch.
I didn't actually see him get hurt. I didn't notice until he came in limping. I saw it when he got up as opposed to when it initially happened.
When I knew he was hurt, I immediately ran to the cage to throw a couple of balls while things were being decided.
With Doug down, we called up Kevin Cash from Triple-A. We're all confident in Kevin's abilities. He has experience having played with both Toronto and Tampa Bay. The fact that he has experience in our division, in particular, should be helpful.
Kevin also has experience catching guys who throw knuckle balls so he may take Doug's place in catching Tim Wakefield. Whoever catches Tim, the key will be staying with it.
As catchers, we all develop a good relationship in Spring Training. The catchers work together in the spring and we develop a bit of a bond. Kevin's a professional player, he catches the ball extremely well and it's good to have a guy like him to step into the role.
Kevin won't be alone, though. He'll communicate with Doug and me, and the pitchers and our coaches. If he has a question about a certain pitch in a certain situation or an opposing batter, we'll be there for him. But there's no question he'll fill the role admirably until Doug gets back.
Jason Varitek is the captain of the Red Sox. This past weekend he caught 27 innings in 24 hours. New backup catcher Kevin Cash, who has played in 115 career big-league games, took the roster spot of Doug Mirabelli (strained right calf). He made his Red Sox debut on Sunday, his first Major League contest since July 19, 2005.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.