Varitek to announce retirement on Thursday

The Boston Red Sox issued a release on time catcher and team captain Jason Varitek will announce his retirement on Thursday evening.

The press conference is scheduled to take place at 5:30 p.m. (et) at the club's spring training home field.

Varitek, 39, broke into the majors in 1997 and spent his entire career with the Red Sox. He is the club's all-time leader in games caught (1,488).

The switch-hitting backstop helped Boston end its 86-year World Series title drought in 2004 and was the starting catcher for the Red Sox when they won the championship again three years later.

Varitek hit just .221 in 68 games last season, finishing with 11 home runs and 36 runs batted in. He is a career .256 hitter with 193 homers and 757 RBI over 1,546 appearances.