BOSTON (AP) – Jason Varitek was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a twisted left knee, leaving the Boston Red Sox without their captain and catcher.

Varitek left Monday night’s 9-8 victory over the Cleveland Indians in the bottom of the third inning, when his backup, Doug Mirabelli, pinch hit. An inning earlier, Varitek rounded second base then walked gingerly back to the bag. He scored on Wily Mo Pena’s triple and caught the top of the third.

“It’s been bothering him for a couple weeks and he went around second last night and twisted it a little bit,” manager Terry Francona said before Tuesday night’s game against Cleveland.

Varitek, who played in 85 of Boston’s first 104 games, went on the disabled list after undergoing tests Tuesday.

Mirabelli started Tuesday and Ken Huckaby was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to take Varitek’s roster spot. Huckaby was hitting .207 with two homers and 16 RBIs in 68 games with Pawtucket.

The Red Sox also recalled right-hander Jason Johnson from Pawtucket and optioned left-hander Javier Lopez there. Johnson started Tuesday night’s game.

Boston also designated first baseman Hee-Seop Choi, who was at Pawtucket, for assignment.

Varitek is considered an outstanding handler of pitchers but struggled at the plate. He is batting .243 with 11 homers and 50 RBIs. He was hurt one day after right fielder Trot Nixon strained his right biceps while swinging. He went on the disabled list Monday.

Before Huckaby showed up, Francona held an audition in the clubhouse for a backup catcher. Third baseman Mike Lowell and backup infielder Alex Cora took part.

“We had a big tryout right here in the clubhouse. It was a blowout,” said Lowell, who won.

Lowell “looked like he knew what he was doing,” Francona said. “Cora looked like he was squatting like me. That hurt his chances right away.”


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