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Shane Victorino pleased with return, but still won’t reveal switch-hitting intentions

03.10.14 at 5:57 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. ‘€“ After sitting out the previous spring training games, it didn’€™t take long for Shane Victorino to pick up where he left off in 2013.

The outfielder ‘€“ who has been nursing a sore back for much of camp ‘€“ was plunked by a Jake Odorizzi fastball in his very first at-bat. And in case you forget, this comes after he finished ‘€™13 with an American League-leading 18 hit-by-pitches.

Oh, and the surgically-repaired right thumb also held up just fine through Victorino’€™s two at-bat day. (He struck out in his only other plate appearance.)

‘€œMy hand feels good, BP, everything feels good,’€ he said after the Red Sox‘€™ 6-2 win over the Rays Monday at JetBlue Park. ‘€œObviously hit the first pitch. That was fun. It just told me that I guess I am pretty close to the plate. Second at-bat, ball looked like it was all in. I went back and looked at the video, the ball was right down the middle. I think it’€™s about timing and getting back out there. But again, it is my first day so I’€™m not really sitting here ‘€¦ I think the physical being is more important, and I feel good.’€

‘€œObviously this is what you do. This is what you prepare for, he added. ‘€œAs I said, to be out there with the guys, they’€™ve been doing their thing. It’€™s been nice. I’€™ve been itchy and antsy to get out there myself. To finally be out there today was great. I’€™m excited.’€

In all, Victorino got a chance to play three innings in the field.

‘€œTo be out there, yeah, it was three innings. But to get a ball I had to go and get in right field, running the bases, you know, again, I think now it’€™s a matter of doing the motion of baserunning, swinging, getting out of the box,’€ he explained. ‘€œPhysically that part is behind me. I feel good at the end of the day so that’€™s for me a positive from a medical standpoint. We feel like that was a positive for us was to see, and obviously we’€™ll see how I feel tomorrow obviously being in baseball activities.’€

One thing that Victorino wasn’€™t excited to discuss after the game was the decision to hit right-handed against a right-handed pitcher. The outfielder has said he hasn’€™t closed the book on switch-hitting, and doesn’€™t want to commit one way or another going right now.

‘€œThere’€™s no answer,’€ he said. ‘€œI feel like you guys all are trying to get an answer. There’€™s no answer yet. If I had known, I would have answered it. If John [Farrell] had known, he would have answered it. I think you guys keep beating that drum. For me, that’€™s the part where I’€™m just like, ‘€˜OK. it’€™s something that I don’€™t even know.’€™ I’€™m working through the process.’€

For Farrell, there were no surprises.

‘€œThere wasn’€™t probably any doubt he was going to hit right-handed,’€ the Sox manager said. ‘€œHe’s hit a little bit in the cage left-handed. I don’t think he’s completely abandoning the left side of the plate. If that’€™s the approach taken, we’re certainly accepting of it.’€

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