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Shane Victorino on hamstring injury: ‘It’s frustrating’ 04.23.15 at 11:14 pm ET
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Shane Victorino could ride out the early-season offensive struggles. But hamstring issues? That’s testing the outfielder’s patience.

After the Red Sox‘ 2-1 loss to the Rays Thursday night, Victorino explained that he was hopeful that his right hamstring would be healed enough so that he could make a return to the lineup sometime during the upcoming three-game series in Baltimore.

“It’€™s frustrating. I was feeling good, feeling great and it’€™s basically more of the same,” Victorino said. “You work so hard and you feel so good out there, you’€™re doing everything, and then you go and steal a base and you feel it. You’€™re like, ‘€˜What? Where did this come from?’€™”

Victorino felt the right hamstring tighten up when stealing second in the fourth inning of the Red Sox‘ loss Wednesday night. It was the first time this season he had a re-occurence of the discomfort in the right hamstring, which had bothered him for most of the 2014 season.

“There were no signs. Zero,” he said. “That’€™s where the biggest frustration comes from. No signs. I would feel a lot better if there was a sign that suggested it was tight or I felt something in there. Nothing. I felt great. The saw him do a big leg kick and I thought I could take the bag. But then I feel it when I start to slide and dive and I’€™m like, ‘€˜What the heck?’€™ It’€™s definitely not what I felt last year. It’€™s in that same area, and that’€™s the part where my conscious is saying, ‘€˜Damn, again?’€™”

While Victorino is mindful that the discomfort is in the same spot as last season, he can take solace knowing the severity of the injury isn’t close to what he experienced in 2014.

“It definitely doesn’t feel [as bad as before,” he said. The right fielder later added, “I think I’€™ll be fine. My goal is that I would love to play this weekend. I’€™m hoping that it heals. It’€™s definitely not what I felt before, but it still worried me because it’€™s the same area.”

Read More: Shane Victorino,
Mike Hazen on D&C: Despite worst starting pitching ERA in majors, ‘We believe in this rotation’ at 9:58 am ET
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Mike Hazen

Mike Hazen

Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen joined Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning to discuss the start of the Red Sox season, including the starting rotation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Through the first 15 games of the season the Red Sox starting rotation has the worst ERA in baseball at 5.71. Despite the poor start, Hazen says he and the rest of the organization believe in the five pitchers they have.

“We believe in this rotation,” Hazen said. “We believe in this rotation now. We believe in it moving forward. What changes, what updates, what things we need to do as the season unfolds that’s to be seen. These guys, for the most part, all have proven records over the course through their careers and moving forward. We think these guys are going to be pretty good.

“I know things haven’t at least from a rotation standpoint got off on the right foot necessarily, but it’s early in the season. We’re seeing it across the league — guys with other teams doing the same type of stuff. These are things we’re going to continue to monitor as we watch the club moving forward.”

With the struggles of the rotation, some have pointed to the number of promising pitching prospects in Triple-A, including Brian Johnson, Henry Owens and Eduardo Rodriguez. Hazen said it’s too early to first panic with what they have at the major league level, but also rush these prospects to the majors.

“Again, we’re going to continue to watch this as it moves forward. It’s still way too early,” Hazen said.

Added Hazen: “Having that depth in Triple A — yeah, it’s great. We love having players down there that are going to come up and contribute. We know we’re not getting through the season with 25 men, we know we’re not getting through the season with 40 men. Year in and year out we’re going to be relying on the players not only outside the organization, but down in Pawtucket. It’s great to have guys in [Eduardo] Rodriguez, [Henry] Owens, [Brian] Johnson and [Matt] Barnes down there throwing well. But, they are still in Triple-A, they’re not in the big leagues. They’re going to probably go through that same transition.”

Hazen did say he believes all those players have a chance to make an impact at the big league level at some point this season.

Here are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

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Read More: brian johnson, mike hazen, Rusney Castillo, Shane Victorino
Red Sox lineup: Shane Victorino returns, Dustin Pedroia gets ‘planned’ day off 04.19.15 at 11:20 am ET
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After being scratched from the lineup Saturday with bruised ribs, Shane Victorino returns to the Red Sox lineup Sunday against the Orioles.

The right fielder spoke in the clubhouse before the game and said he feels fine after running into the right field wall Friday night. He swung in the cage during Saturday’s game and is ready to go Sunday.

Dustin Pedroia will get his first day off of the season. The second baseman is 0 for his last 7 and has committed two errors over the first 11 games.

“Just a day off. One of the benefits of Brock Holt,” manager John Farrell said.

“No, not a reaction,” to Pedroia’s recent struggles he added. “Planned day knowing we have an early morning game tomorrow and a left-hander on the mound. A chance to give him a spell.”

Holt will lead off with Mookie Betts sliding down to the No. 2 spot. Farrell said that was just a way to break up the left-handers in the order.

Sandy Leon will catch Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, as the Red Sox go up against Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez.

For an extensive look at the pitching matchups, click here.

1. Brock Holt, 2B
2. Mookie Betts, CF
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Hanley Ramirez, LF
5. Mike Napoli, 1B
6. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
7. Shane Victorino, RF
8. Xander Bogaerts, SS
9. Sandy Leon, C
Rick Porcello, RHP

Read More: Dustin Pedroia, Shane Victorino,
Shane Victorino scratched with sore ribs, Daniel Nava starts in RF 04.18.15 at 3:24 pm ET
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Looks like Shane Victorino did pay a price for going after that fly ball in right field Friday night.

Victorino was scratched an hour before Saturday’s game with sore ribs. He was replaced in right field by Daniel Nava, batting seventh.

The Victorino situation appeared encouraging at the start of the day when the outfielder was in the starting lineup, one day after he had one of his trademark collisions with the short wall at the Pesky Corner in right. Victorino made a futile attempt to catch Caleb Joseph’s solo homer in the fifth inning Friday night.

He was shaken up and on the warning track for nearly a minute before getting back to his feet. He stayed in the game and was penciled in the lineup for Saturday before the late scratch.

(Update: Here is what Red Sox manager John Farrell said regarding Victorino after the Red Sox’ 4-1 loss to the Orioles – “When he hit the wall, he made a great effort to try to bring back a home run. The left rib area was sore here today. He was no go. We’€™ll check him in the morning on his availability.”

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

Here is the adjusted lineup for the Red Sox:

1. Brock Holt, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Hanley Ramirez, LF
5. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
6. Mike Napoli, 1B
7. Daniel Nava, RF
8. Xander Bogaerts, SS
9. Ryan Hanigan, C
Clay Buchholz, RHP

Read More: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, daniel nava, MLB
Buster Olney on MFB: Clay Buchholz ‘set off some red flags with some evaluators’ Sunday night 04.16.15 at 1:39 pm ET
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Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney joined Middays with MFB Thursday to discuss the Red Sox and their 6-3 start to the year, specifically their starting rotation. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The second time through the rotation hasn’t gone well for Red Sox starters. The worst of those four starts was Clay Buchholz Sunday night in New York. Buchholz went 3 1/3 innings, allowing 10 runs (nine earned) on nine hits, while walking two and striking out three. The Red Sox lost the game 14-4 to the Yankees.

“When we look at the Red Sox we wonder if you have front of the rotation type guys and [Joe] Kelly last Saturday was that good,” Olney said. “On the other hand, [Buchholz] on Sunday really set off some red flags with some evaluators in the building Sunday at Yankee Stadium and then people with other teams. They thought he quit. They thought his reaction during the course of the game, essentially not backing up bases on repeated plays, it was a lot like a kid who flipped over a board game when he was losing as a kid. I think it bothered folks with other teams.

“It will be interesting to see how he reacts, and I thought what John Farrell said after the game that that can’t happen, that is about as close as you’re going to see from John Farrell about direct criticism in regards to a player.”

The Red Sox offense is off to a tremendous start to the season, averaging 6.22 runs through the first nine games. Olney has been very impressed.

“Maybe the best lineup we’ve seen in recent years, maybe even better than that 2013 lineup because of the quality of the hitters,” he said. “The fact you have guys in the lineup who can do damage against good pitching. Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval and the thing that jumps out at me is how they sort of work off each other. They learn from each other.”

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Read More: buster olney, Clay Buchholz, John Farrell, Shane Victorino
Shane Victorino on sporadic playing time: ‘I get it’ 04.14.15 at 4:21 pm ET
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For the fourth time this young season, Daniel Nava got the start over Shane Victorino in right field, hitting seventh against Washington and its righty starter Stephen Strasburg.

Victorino has now started half of the Red Sox eight games, totaling 23 plate appearances. (He did enter the lineup halfway through the Sox’ 19-inning game in New York, resulting in four at-bats.)

The 34-year-old said the approach toward playing time isn’t what he anticipated, but it’s a dynamic he has come to understand.

“We talked about it,” said Victorino regarding conversations with manager John Farrell. “Obviously we discussed what was going on because the first couple of times I did get that call or text that, ‘€˜You’€™re down tonight,’€™ what’€™s my reply? But it was explained to me what was going on. And even from a medical standpoint they’€™ve spoken to me about it. I get it. Every athlete or every human being who wants to play every day is saying, ‘€˜No, no, no. Let me go.’€™ But I’€™m getting to the point in my career where I kind of understand. Of course people are going to think if this is going to be a platoon, or is this going to be a situation. If that is what people want to think … I’€™m not looking at this way.”

The Red Sox had wanted to remain conservative in regards to Victorino’s playing time early on in the season, even with the outfielder showing no ill effects from last season’s back surgery.

Helping that approach has obviously been the production of Nava, who is 4-for-9 against right-handed pitching entering Tuesday.

“They say I’€™m the type of player you have to put the reigns back on, so if they don’€™t do it I’€™m just going to keep going. That’€™s their biggest fear is breaking down,” Victorino said. “Getting my body and back into physical shape slowly but surely, and then riding into the sunset.

“I didn’€™t know what the plan is. Obviously now I have an idea. Going into it it wasn’€™t discussed that this was going to be our plan, this is what we’€™re going to do. That just shows the depth on our team that they’€™re able to say, ‘€˜We’€™re going to play you but we don’€™t want to break you down, have you break down June or July.’€™”

With his health staying steady, Victorino’s biggest concern at this stage is finding the at-bats needed to rediscover his way as a full-time right-handed hitter.

He heads into Tuesday with just two hits and three walks, with both singles off righty pitchers during the third game in Philadelphia.

“It’€™s hard to get in a rhythm, but I’€™m not going to use that as an excuse as a reason why I’€™m not swinging the bat or feeling good at the plate,” Victorino said. “It will happen for me. It’€™s just 20 at-bats, that’€™s all.”

In terms of pitchers approaching him differently now that he’s not a switch-hitter, the outfielder said, “I noticed it last year, so now it’€™s just an adjustment I have to make. My timing’€™s not there. I’€™m still trying to work on that process. I’€™m still trying to work on being comfortable at the plate. I’€™ve been away from the game for a year, so it’€™s just a matter of working on things and feeling comfortable and then seeing it all fall into place. That’€™s important for me. That’€™s the biggest thing is the health. The rest of it I feel is going to come.”

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Red Sox lineup: David Ortiz, Shane Victorino return 04.09.15 at 3:22 pm ET
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PHILADELPHIA — With Phillies righty David Buchanan on the mound, David Ortiz returns to the lineup for the Red Sox, playing first base and hitting cleanup.

Also returning to the Sox staring lineup will be right fielder Shane Victorino, slotting in at the sixth spot.

Here is the entire Red Sox‘ batting order, with Justin Masterson on the mound and hitting ninth:

Mookie Betts CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez LF
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Shane Victorino RF
Ryan Hanigan C
Xander Bogaerts SS
Justin Masterson P

For all the matchups, click here.

Read More: David Ortiz, Shane Victorino,
Somber David Ortiz says Marathon bombing verdict won’t bring victims back 04.08.15 at 5:52 pm ET
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PHILADELPHIA — David Ortiz memorably told a packed Fenway Park and rapt television audience, “This is our (bleeping) city,” in response to the Marathon bombings.

But defiance yielded to a somber acknowledgement of reality on Wednesday when Ortiz was asked for a reaction to the news that surviving bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had been found guilty on all 30 counts in federal court.

“I don’€™t know, man,” Ortiz said. “What can I tell you? I mean, it doesn’€™t matter. It’€™s not going to bring those people who lost their lives back. It is what it is.”

Ortiz was in no mood to celebrate the conviction of a murderer who took the lives of four people, and had little to say on the possibility of Tsarnaev receiving the death penalty.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’m not a judge.”

Teammate Shane Victorino, however, was more pointed in his thoughts.

“Anytime the system finds a guy who committed, to me, an evil act, it’s a sad and a day we’€™ll all never forget, especially being an athlete,” Victorino said. “Individuals who lived in that city, people from that city people who were’€¦ things you look back upon. I’€™m very happy that was the verdict, he was found guilty. Obviously the sentencing on what is going to happen hasn’€™t been made, but I think for me it’€™s a happy day in regards to finding this individual who committed this sinful and evil act, guilty of all the charges he was charged with.”

Read More: David Ortiz, Shane Victorino,
Buster Olney on MFB: Dustin Pedroia’s power biggest takeaway from Opening Day at 11:58 am ET
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Buster Olney

Buster Olney

ESPN’s Buster Olney made his weekly appearance on with Middays with MFB on Wednesday to talk about the Red Sox after their impressive start to the season. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

The Sox opened the season with an 8-0 victory over the Phillies, hitting five home runs — two each from Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez.

“The fact that Pedroia hit for power to me was the thing that jumped out,” Olney said. “Because I know all of last year — and look, nobody engenders more respect around baseball than Dustin Pedroia does, and people love the way he plays, but I heard it from a lot of people, whether it was scouts or other players, they wondered if Dustin was ever going to get back to being able to hit for any kind of power, because he’s had so many nagging injuries — wrist, hands, the whole thing — and that was a great sign on the first day that he was able to do something.

“When you’re playing the Phillies right now it is a little bit Christians and the lions situation because they are really bad. But that’s a great start for them.”

The much-maligned Clay Buchholz pitched like a No. 1, allowing no runs and just three hits through seven innings.

“We’ve seen it in the past, he’s certainly capable of pitching really well,” Olney said. “And you’re right, it’s a good sign, it doesn’t matter who you’re facing. You can only compete against the guys who are in front of you. … Everything that I saw, he looked in command. Most of the time you liked the tempo, which I always thought was a barometer when you watch Buchholz is how quickly is he working between pitches. The faster he works, the better it seems he is; the slower he works, the more uncertain he seems to be. The other day he seemed like he was very comfortable.

“It’s a great first sign from a team that needs, let’s face it, contributions from all ends of their rotation.”

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Read More: buster olney, Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester
Shane Victorino discusses emotional return to lineup and Philadelphia 04.06.15 at 2:25 pm ET
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PHILADELPHIA — Monday is an emotional day for Shane Victorino.

The Red Sox outfielder is not only returning to action after offseason back surgery that had many writing off his career, he’s also making his comeback in the city he called home for eight years.

Preparing to make the Opening Day start in right field, Victorino described how important this game is to him.

“As I said last year when I was facing back surgery, there was a date on my calendar that I circled, that I wanted to be here for and be healthy, and that was today here in Philadelphia,” Victorino said. “So it’s going to be emotional for me.”

Victorino will face his old friend and former teammate, Cole Hamels, the Phillies ace of whom he made a request.

“I texted with Cole a little bit, as friends would,” Victorino said. “And I said not to embarrass me in my first at-bat as an opposing player. He laughed it off and said, ‘I’ll do my best. I’ll let you have your time and get your ovation, and from there, we’ll see what happens.’ That’s the kind of stuff that makes this game fun.”

Making the game even more meaningful is the venue. Victorino won a World Series with the Phillies in 2008 before adding another title to his resume in Boston. It just adds another layer to his recovery.

“I’d never faced this kind of adversity in regards to coming off surgery,” he said. “I’d never had to work this hard in regards to coming back and being healthy and proving that I’m healthy again. As an athlete, this is the kind of stuff you look forward to. This is the kind of stuff that motivates you, the kind of stuff I’ve always challenged myself, always called myself the underdog, and I love being that guy.

“As I’ve said and expressed, the player that I am started here,” Victorino added. “I got an opportunity as a young kid to become the baseball player that I am, and fortunately now, I’ve moved to a great city with great fans, a great organization.”

Read More: Shane Victorino,
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