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Shane Victorino: David Ortiz breaks out and shows again why ‘he belongs in the Hall of Fame’

08.30.13 at 11:58 pm ET
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David Ortiz (left) and Shane Victorino made quite the combination Friday night in a win over the White Sox. (AP)

David Ortiz (left) and Shane Victorino made quite the combination Friday night in a win over the White Sox. (AP)

Shane Victorino can relate with David Ortiz. As a matter of fact, every major leaguer who has ever played can relate with the 0-for-23 Ortiz was dealing with entering his fourth-inning at-bat.

But Victorino had a message for Ortiz recently. Don’t worry, relax, be happy. In baseball terms, keep swinging and good things will happen.

Sure enough, Hector Santiago left a 92 MPH fastball thigh high on a 2-2 count and Ortiz, who walked in his first at-bat, laced a two-run single to the left of the shift, doubling Boston’s lead from 2-0 to 4-0 and providing just enough margin for the Red Sox to hold on for a 4-3 win over the White Sox Friday night. Earlier in the at-bat, Santiago left a 93 MPH fastball right over the middle and Ortiz swung right through it.

“Very big,” Victorino said. “Obviously, he’s the kind of guy, we all go through that in the game. What he’s going through, it happens. Nobody is immortal in this game. It happens to the best of them. It’s about going out there each and every day, trying to battle, get as many at-bats under your belt to feel comfortable.

[Listen to Shane Victorino talk about David Ortiz breaking out of his slump]

“We all go through that rut. We all go through those kind of things. You want to minimize them as much as you can. But it was definitely nice to have him come back tonight, come up and get that big hit, get on base a couple of times, a couple of walks. As I told him the other day, you just have to go up there and have fun, relax. We all get like that when we’re not swinging the bat well. You seem to want to tense up or want to do too much or swing outside of the zone or do things like that. But, we talked about it. I told him, ‘Go out there, have fun, relax. You’re way too good. You’re not a hall of famer for no reason.’ He’s done it for such a long time. It’s one of those things, he’s way too good.”

It’s easy right now for Victorino to spread the wealth and karma. He is the hottest hitter on the Red Sox. He reached in three of his five plate appearances Friday, went 2-for-4. He’s batting .477 with 10 extra-base hits in his last 12 games, including eight multi-hit games. Funny thing is, he refused to talk about his hot streak after Friday’s game but was more than happy to offer perspective on Ortiz.

“Again, we all go through ruts like that in the game,” Victorino said. “It’s been 20 at-bats or whatever it is, six games. I think sometimes you guys make it a little worse than what it really is. That’s fine. It happens. When you’re that good, everybody want him to go up there and swing the bat and get as many hits as he can. Sometimes you’re in a funk.

“Tonight, it was good to have him out there and get that big knock and spread the game open a little bit and we were able to hold onto the lead. It says a lot. We all know what David is capable of doing. He’s not a shoe-in and there are no guarantees in the game but for me, personally, he belongs in the hall of fame when it’s all said and done with. And what he’s done in his career.

“We all go through it. We all go through these kind of ruts. It happens.”

Victorino also tipped his cap to manager John Farrell for not only keeping Ortiz in the lineup but keeping him in the No. 4 hole in the order.

“You want your manager to leave you out there,” Victorino said. “That’s what you want. You want to be able to swing out of it. You don’t want [time off]. It’s one of those things, as a manager, it’s great to see he’s going to keep running you out there. And that’s the only way you’re going to get out of it, you’ve got to swing out of it.”

Victorino had an inkling that interleague games against San Francisco and Los Angeles may have contributed to Ortiz’s funk.

“Maybe it was a little different, interleague games,” Victorino said. “I don’t if that was the case but you can say that it is. When you get into a rhythm as a DH and you’re playing every day and you’re feeling good. You don’t have to worry about defense and sometimes being guy who in interleague who has to go play defense. I’m not saying that this is a reason he is struggling or factors.

“But again, swing, relax, have fun. David is way too good. He’s the kind of guy we can all jump on his back and he can carry us to the end. Yeah, we all want him swinging every single game. I don’t want him to go through slumps like this but it happens. Nobody is immortal in this game. We all go through those kind of things. We all go through out struggles but again, it’s about going out there, keep battling and hey, he showed it tonight, came up with that big hit. Those four runs we were able to get were good enough.”

Read More: Big Papi, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, David Ortiz
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