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Red Sox notes: John Farrell says Shane Victorino will be ready on Opening Day

03.26.14 at 12:29 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Shane Victorino, who was held out of games on Tuesday due to soreness in his left side and, despite being cleared medically to play, was held back for another day as a precaution, remains on track to be the Red Sox‘ Opening Day right fielder, manager John Farrell said.

The Sox may nonetheless cross their T’s and limit Victorino to minor league games upon his anticipated return to games on Thursday. Doing so would allow the Sox, in theory, to backdate the start of a hypothetical disabled list stint to the days before the start of the season. But Farrell said he does not expect the team will need to take advantage of that latitude.

“He’€™s going to be our right fielder on opening day, I can tell you that,” said Farrell.

Though Victorino has played in just eight games this spring, the fact that he has been hitting solely from the right side (as opposed to switch-hitting, as he had throughout his big league career) has allowed him to maintain his swing despite his limited action. Victorino is hitting .227/.320/.273 this spring.

David Ortiz is not in the big league lineup for the second straight day. Instead, he is doing extra work in the batting cages with hitting coach Greg Colbrunn and assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez.

Ortiz is just 2-for-35 with a homer, three walks and 12 strikeouts this spring. But given his history of modest springs (he didn’t play at all in 2013 while recovering from an Achilles injury and he hit no better than .250 in any spring from 2007-12), the Sox express little alarm.

“Just watching his daily work here with the bat speed and the way he takes [batting practice], I thought he put a good swing on a ball the other day before he got rained out so not overly concerned at all,” said Farrell. “Last year he didn’t have any at-bats. He had 15 at-bats in Triple-A on a rehab assignment before he came to us. Not taking anything for granted, but not overly concerned either.

“As he’€™s gotten deeper into his career, I think there’€™s more of an understanding of what he needs and knowing that if he feels comfortable in the box and he’€™s seeing the ball well, then everything is going to fall into place,” Farrell added. “It’€™s not saying that he needs 60-plus plate appearances to feel like he’€™s ready. Last year certainly proved that.”

– Farrell said that the Sox plan to make a large round of roster cuts, likely on Thursday, with the verdict on the decision between Grady Sizemore and Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field likely to come on Friday, once the team can see how Sizemore responded to his stretch of three games in three days.

Jon Lester will pitch in a minor league game on Wednesday. The Sox want him to get to 95-100 pitches as he prepares for Opening Day.

Read More: David Ortiz, Shane Victorino, spring training 2014,
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