Jason Varitek is coming back to the Red Sox.

The club named its longtime catcher and former captain as a special assistant to the general manager on Thursday, less than a year after his 15-season playing career came to an end.

"Jason was one of the most respected players of his era and will be a key voice as we move forward," general manager Ben Cherington said in a statement. "He will be involved in a number of areas, including Major League personnel decisions, evaluations, and mentorship and instruction of young players. We are fortunate to have him in this role."

Varitek, 40, played in 1,546 games and a franchise-record 1,488 contests at catcher from 1997-2011. The switch-hitter was a three-time All-Star and was selected as the 18th full-time captain in team history after the 2004 season.

That year he had helped the Red Sox to their first World Series title since 1918. He did so again in 2007 and finished his career as the franchise leader with 63 postseason games and 228 at-bats.

Varitek retired in February as a .256 career hitter, with 193 home runs, 757 RBIs and a .776 OPS.