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Shane Victorino after rehab start: ‘I’m part of the problem not being out there’

06.23.14 at 11:31 pm ET
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LOWELL –  Shane Victorino feels as responsible as anyone for the Red Sox‘ struggles this season.

The right fielder has been limited to just 21 games with the Red Sox in 2014 with his troublesome right hamstring and hasn’t played baseball since since a short three-game stint in Pawtucket on June 17. In that time he’s been forced to watch the Sox fall in the AL East standings, the offense struggle and the outfield fail to produce in the last month, all from the outside.

“I’m a culprit. I’m part of the problem not being out there, not helping those guys,” he said.

On Monday, it was back to playing baseball for Victorino, who took another step toward his return to the Red Sox lineup in a rehab stint with Single-A Lowell at LeLacheur Park. He went 0-for-3 batting out of the leadoff spot, but ran the bases at full speed and, most importantly, felt healthy in his five innings of play.

“Body felt good, good to be back out there running around,” Victorino said afterward, later adding, “Everything was going accordingly. Some things got a little set back, but we’re getting back in the right direction.”

Victorino said he expects to play with Pawtucket Tuesday night and hopes to return to the big leagues as soon as possible.

“My goal would love to be out there in Seattle Wednesday, but again, it’s about doing the things, getting back into so-called baseball activity physically, getting back into motion and all those kinds of things,” he said. 

“But I’m taking it one game at a time. I felt good after [Monday's] game. I’ll hopefully get four or so at-bats [Tuesday] night and go from there.”

Manager John Farrell said before the Sox’ series finale against the A’s on Sunday that he was hopeful Victorino could return to the team before the end of its 10-game road trip. But Victorino wasn’t ready to put a timetable on his return.

“The game itself presents a lot of pressure,” he said. “To add things like that, to understand that the outfield is struggling and people are hoping I can go out there. I tell people when I come back I’m just going to go out there and give 100 percent. Whatever you’re going to get, you’re going to get.”

Victorino said the process of coming back has been frustrating for him.

“It sucks. It’s definitely not fun,” he said. “You want to be back, you want to be out there, that’s what it’s all about. It’s what I’ve got to do to get back, to stay out there and be healthy, so I think that’s what’s important.”

Victorino said maybe the most difficult part for him has been watching the Red Sox struggle since going on the disabled list May 24. But he’s still confident the Sox can stay in the hunt.

“It’s part of the game,” Victorino said. “At the end of the day you cheer, you root, you want the best for those guys that are out there.

“You hope for the best, but there’s still time for us to turn things around. It’s never too late. I’ve been in a position where we’re seven and a half games back and 18 to go, and we ended up winning the division.”

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