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A few things learned from Shane Victorino’s press conference

12.13.12 at 2:34 pm ET
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Here are some takeaways from the Shane Victorino introductory press conference:

- Victorino said he has been asked to play for the United States in the World Baseball Classic, and has accepted the invitation. He is just waiting approval from the Red Sox. He previously played for the USA team in the last WBC, actually serving as the person who was executing hitting drills with Dustin Pedroia when the Sox second baseman hurt his oblique prior to a WBC game at Dolphin Stadium in Miami.

‘€œI told him that it was better he be out for one game than be out for half a season,’€ said Victorino at the time, having watched Pedroia take flips from Team USA coach Reggie Smith. ‘€œYou know how he is, he wants to keep going. He just took a swing off a flip and then he went, ‘€˜Aahh!’€™ I’€™m like, ‘€˜Don’€™t be risking it here.’€™ He was like, ‘€˜Nah, let me take one more.’€™ But I told him, obliques aren’€™t fun, I know.’€

- Victorino explained to WEEI.com that he didn’t start switch-hitting until he entered pro ball in 2002. The outfielder was urged to hit left-handed by then-minor league hitting coach Damon Farmar (the father of former Laker Jordan Farmar). Victorino went back to just hitting right-handed for two years before diving back into the process. He feels he didn’t get full comfortable with switch-hitting until 2005.

- As for his struggles hitting from the left side in 2012, Victorino wouldn’t blame his injured right index finger on the troubles. The outfielder hit .229  with an .629 OPS against right-handed pitching last season. Overall, he hit .255 with a .704 OPS in ’12.

‘€œEverybody wants to find that excuse. I wish I had that excuse I could use. Early on, I had a problem with my right index finger, but it didn’€™t hamper me at the plate. I wish I could use that excuse, but people wouldn’€™t buy it, and nor am I the kind of player that’€™s going to let that be a reason for why I struggled or why I couldn’€™t be the player I can be. That’€™s never going to be a reason for me to make an excuse for why I can’€™t play hard. That’€™s not an issue at all. That was very minimal.’€

There was some questions regarding the two games he hit right-handed right-handed pitching in ’12. Well, those came against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, replicating a practice Victorino used against Tim Wakefield (whom he went 1-for-9 against).

- Victorino’s agent, John Boggs, said that another one of his clients, pitcher Mark Prior, is healthy and drawing interest from multiple teams, although the Red Sox aren’t one of the interested parties as of yet. The 32-year-old righty pitched in 19 games (all in relief) with Triple-A Pawtucket in ’12, compiling a 3.96 ERA in 25 innings. Opponents hit just .172 against the one-time All-Star. Prior was released by the Red Sox in late August.

- Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington talked about shortstop Jose Iglesias visiting Pedroia in Arizona recently.

“I think any time a young player can be around Pedroia is a benefit to the young player,” he said. “Obviously, those guys have gotten to know each other a little bit from playing. The guy Pedey is playing with at shortstop is important to him. He wants to know that guys style and tendencies. He cares about it. Pedroia cares about the team. He cares about the guys he’s playing with. He wants to help young players understand what it takes to to play here and do well. It’s important to Pedroia and I’m sure Iglesias will get something out of it.”

Read More: Dustin Pedroia, mark prior, Red Sox, Shane Victorino
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