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Shane Victorino: Gold Glove ‘a big surprise’; right fielder feels good after two-game layoff

10.30.13 at 7:14 pm ET
By
Shane Victorino

Shane Victorino

Shane Victorino had won three Gold Gloves when he signed with the Red Sox last winter, but his fourth, the one announced Tuesday, is different. This one comes as a reward for his play in right field — Fenway’s right field, no less — in 2013, the first time he manned that position regularly since 2007.

“More than anything I think the magnitude of moving to right field, the magnitude of playing in Fenway Park, this was a big surprise,” Victorino said. “I took it as a surprise about how everybody talked about how hard Fenway Park in right field was to play. I’ve always worked hard on my defense. And I’ve always taken pride in my defense, just like Dustin [Pedroia] has and the rest of this team, collectively. I think there’s a lot of other guys that are deserving of a Gold Glove.”

The award does not come without merit. Victorino posted a 25.0 Ultimate Zone Rating, tops among right fielders in the American League and second in all of baseball behind Gerardo Parra of the Diamondbacks (26.6). The Athletics’ Josh Reddick (16.4) and the Yankees’ Ichiro Suzuki (11.6), the other top right fielders in the league, were well behind Victorino by that metric, which calculates the number of runs a fielder saved as compared to an average defender at his position.

Anecdotally, of course, the banged-up outfielder stayed true to his “Flyin’ Hawaiian” nickname by making a habit of crashing into the short falls or diving full-extension to record the out whenever possible.

Victorino, however, was quick to credit those around him. He said having the defensively savvy Pedroia, who reeled in his third Gold Glove, Jacoby Ellsbury and even Mike Napoli — who impressed in his first full season as a first baseman — in his vicinity was significant.

“It’s not just myself out there,” Victorino said. “It was the [three] guys that surrounded me and the rest of the team. … We take pride in our defense, and it’s something that we’re going to continue to do and work hard at every single day.”

Pedroia, who edged the Rays’ Ben Zobrist in UZR (10.9 to 10), was similarly pleased.

“It’s definitely a huge honor,” Pedroia said. “There’s so many great second basemen in the American League. So to win that award it’s an honor. We play against them every night. You see them out there and you respect them so much the way they play the game, all of them. It’s a huge honor.”

OTHER RED SOX PREGAME NOTES:

– Victorino said he had been ready to go for Game 5, but he and manager John Farrell discussed the magnitude of the game, and given what happened the night before — Jonny Gomes hit a three-run, game-winning homer — they did not want to stray from that lineup.

“I took it at that,” Victorino said. “I feel a lot better, physically better today and I’m a go.”

Stephen Drew, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ellsbury and Napoli are all set to become free agents following the conclusion of this series. While acknowledging the looming uncertainty, Pedroia downplayed the idea that those players’ individual futures matter to anyone — the players or the team collectively — right now.

“That’s the business side,” Pedroia said. “I don’t think anybody in there is thinking about that. … Heck, I don’t know if I’ll be here tomorrow. That’s the way everyone thinks about it.”

– Victorino’s report on Cardinals Game 6 starter Michael Wacha put it simply: “He’s good. He’s a 22-year-old kid that’s having fun, I think most importantly.”

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