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Shane Victorino discusses Manti Te’o situation, playing in World Baseball Classic

Speaking on WEEI’s Hot Stove Show on Thursday night, Red Sox [1] outfielder Shane Victorino [2] offered some brief thoughts on the recent controversy surrounding Notre Dame [3] linebacker (and fellow Hawaiian) Manti Te’€™o.

‘€œTo be honest with you, I’€™m not going to have any comment on that situation. It’€™s an unfortunate situation. The truth is still to be told. ‘€¦ I’€™m going to touch upon that when things are done. People are going to speculate,’€ Victorino said. ‘€œFor me, ultimately, people have to understand, and I look at it this way, it’€™s about the game of football. He’€™s still a great football player. Who knows the truth? I don’€™t know the truth. Again, my comment is I really have nothing to say about it until we figure it out and someone comes forward and really says what really happened.’€

Victorino — who has formed a relationship with Te’€™o and attended the national championship game to watch the Notre Dame star — said he hasn’€™t spoken with Te’€™o since the story broke earlier this week regarding what is perceived to be a hoax involving what was thought to be the 21-year-old’€™s girlfriend.

Prior to commenting on Thursday night’€™s show, the only other mention Victorino had regarding the situation came via a tweet Wednesday:

Victorino was upbeat when talking about his participation in the World Baseball Classic [6]. The outfielder will be making his second straight appearance for Team USA, having been part of the 2009 club.

Despite some concerns by players and teams in regards to the injury-risk that comes with participating in the WBC ‘€“ having to play competitive games so early in the spring ‘€“ Victorino feels he is prepared to avoid any pitfalls.

‘€œI think it’€™s an honor, to wear those letters across your chest. I think that’€™s an honor,’€ he said. ‘€œThere was no second-guessing for me. The situation is a little tougher being with a new organization and things like that. I think ultimately for me it’€™s about being mentally prepared and being there before, having that situation happen in 2009 and being fortunate enough to play on that team, I’€™ve prepared myself and I felt like I was ready to go during the season. That was the part I think a lot of guys questioned, and teams questioned, are you going to get ready? Are you going to get the right amount of playing time? For me being there and experiencing one, there’€™s going to be no doubt in my mind that I’€™ll be prepared come April 1.’€

Victorino witnessed the risks that come with preparing for tournament play first-hand in ‘€™09, having been with Dustin Pedroia [7] when the Red Sox infielder injured his oblique prior to a WBC game in Miami.

‘€œMy whole thing is I look at this way — it can happen in spring training,’€ he said. ‘€œMaybe they weren’€™t prepared to get in full game mode. But ultimately I think you prepare yourself. Playing on that ‘€™09 team, I know what it takes to prepare myself. Fingers crossed that nothing happens with anybody out there on the field. Nobody wants to see anyone get hurt. Watching Dustin get hurt and him experiencing that, it was definitely frustrating. He was a guy who brought a lot of energy to that team and having him go down was definitely a tough situation.’€

To hear the entire Victorino interview, click here [8].