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02/22/12 2:44 PM EST

If 'Tek doesn't return, Sox may forgo captain role

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Assuming Jason Varitek doesn't surface at some point, manager Bobby Valentine doesn't think the Red Sox will need a successor in the captain's role.

After all, the Sox didn't have a captain from 1990-2004, and most teams in the Majors don't have one now.

"If Varitek doesn't show up? I hadn't planned on [a captain]," Valentine said. "If the team thinks a captain's a cool thing, I think that could be considered. It's not that I don't think a captain's necessary. Then again, I don't know that it's so necessary you can't live without it. Who was the captain last year in St. Louis? They didn't have one. So you can win a world championship without a captain."

That said, Valentine understands the leadership void that Varitek's departure would leave, particularly on the pitching staff.

"If in fact Jason Varitek is not on the team, I think there's a lot of void that needs to be filled," Valentine said. "From what I gathered -- and I was never in uniform with him -- but I think he brought a lot to the table even when he wasn't playing. Part of what he did was bridge the gap of understanding between catchers and pitchers."

Pedroia confident everything will come together

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Dustin Pedroia is the type of player who will create motivation just to maintain that edge he loves playing with. This spring, there is no need to manufacture anything -- not with the Red Sox coming off the worst September collapse in baseball history.

Even if Pedroia is one of precious few Boston players who actually had a strong finish to the season, he takes everything that happens to his team personally.

"Last year is over," Pedroia said. "It was tough. There's not a day goes by that I don't think about it. You have to come out and try to turn the page and play well and play for your teammates. That's what I'm going to try to do."

For the first time in his career, Pedroia will play for a manager other than Terry Francona, who has been replaced by Bobby Valentine. Everyone knows about the type of relationship Pedroia had with Francona. That probably will never change.

"It's different," Pedroia said. "That's the only thing I've kind of known, but things change. It's tough to see him go, especially the way it ended for him last year. He'll always be a close friend of mine. Whatever he chooses to do forward, I'm pulling for him."

With plenty of changes on both the coaching staff and the roster, Pedroia is confident everything will come together in time.

"It takes time," Pedroia said. "I don't know some of these guys that well. The guys that really know each other, we just stick together and the other guys, the more your relationship builds with them, it will be that much stronger. We'll be fine."

Valentine keeping close tabs on Iglesias

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- One of the most interesting Red Sox players to watch this spring will be Jose Iglesias, the highly touted shortstop prospect. Now that Marco Scutaro and Jed Lowrie are both gone, Iglesias might be able to play his way into the mix at some point this season.

"I'll ask [infield instructor/third-base coach] Jerry [Royster] a lot more," said manager Bobby Valentine. "Jerry will give his evaluation, but my first impression, though, is he can catch it. I bet he can throw it after he catches it, too. He has an interesting exchange. A lot of people will make the comparison, and I did see similarities with Rey Ordonez. All glove action. Initially, he looked like he has more range than Rey."

Valentine managed Ordonez during his time in New York. And you don't have to remind him that Ordonez's huge shortcoming was his offense, or lack thereof.

The jury is very much out on what Iglesias can do with the bat, but he seems to have a lot more raw tools from an offensive standpoint than Ordonez did.

When Valentine managed the light-hitting Ordonez, he was in the National League East. Would it be feasible to go with an offensive liability at shortstop in the American League East?

"Probably not," Valentine said. "My fast brain says probably not."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.