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Shane Victorino still on target to hit ground running in Fort Myers 01.04.15 at 10:09 pm ET
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Back. Hamstring. Thumb. As far as Shane Victorino is concerned, all such worries are in the past.

The Red Sox outfielder reports that everything in regard to his offseason training following back surgery has gone according to plan. Victorino wrote in a text Sunday: “So far full go. Picking up swinging this week. Throwing every day, and lifting, etc. So far, so good.”

There is also some video proof of his progress …

While much focus has been placed on the emergence of rookie outfielders Rusney Castillo and Mookie Betts when trying to project the right field and center field for the Red Sox, it should be noted the importance of a healthy Victorino.

On a few occasions — including earlier this offseason – Victorino has proclaimed himself the starting right fielder for the Red Sox. And, even with the promise displayed by Castillo and Betts, if the 34-year-old offers his 2013 offensive and defensive production he could easily be classified as the team’s best all-around outfielder when healthy. (Remember, Hanley Ramirez still has to show he can catch a fly ball.)

During ’13, Victorino claimed a Gold Glove while manning Fenway Park‘s right field. He also finished with a .294 batting average and .801 OPS to go along with 15 homers and 21 stolen bases in 122 regular season games.

If Castillo or Betts finished with those sort of numbers, along with the defensive acumen, the Red Sox would be doing handstands.

While there would appear to be a major logjam in the outfield right now, with Daniel Nava, Allen Craig and Brock Holt joining Ramirez, Castillo, Betts and Victorino, the likelihood is that it is a group that will be paired down by at least one (the guess here is Craig) before Opening Day.

The team’s current thinking is that the collection of the four righty hitters (Ramirez, Castillo, Betts, Victorino) can spell each other — with Nava and Holt matching up potentially in both outfield and infield situations — enough to keep everyone healthy.

There could be a scenario where the Red Sox cruise through spring training without any hiccups, and they feel confident enough in their outfield depth that a trade is made involving Victorino. That, however, would still offer a fair amount of risk considering you would be leaning on two first-time, full-time big leaguers and a newbie outfielder with a history of injury.

There is a ways to go before the Opening Day picture clears itself up. But Victorino’s progress offers a reminder as to exactly when and why he was missed so much during his absence a season ago.

Read More: Red Sox, Shane Victorino,
Shane Victorino would really love to see Cole Hamels in a Red Sox uniform 12.17.14 at 1:57 pm ET
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Cole Hamels. (Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

Shane Victorino wouldn’t mind seeing Cole Hamels in a Red Sox uniform next year. (Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images)

The Red Sox have added three new starting pitchers. But that’s not going to stop the Cole Hamels’ conversations.

Even with the additions of Rick Porcello, Wade Miley and Justin Masterson following Jon Lester‘s jump to the Cubs, there is some thought the Red Sox will still be exploring the market for a proven No. 1 starter. There has been whispers of Washington’s Jordan Zimmerman and Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto.

But perhaps the loudest scuttlebutt regarding the possible acquisition of an ace has involved Hamels.

Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino, a former teammate of Hamels with the Phillies, is all for the idea of his team making such a move.

“I’€™ll take Cole Hamels in a heartbeat as one of our starters,” Victorino said by phone. “I know he’€™s been there. I know what kind of guy he is. I know what kind of pitcher he is. When he takes that ball he wants to win. He comes across as this nonchalant guy, or laid back. But when it’€™s time to go, Cole Hamels is one of the most prepared, hard-working guys I’€™ve been around.”

Hamels (who does list the Red Sox as one of the teams on his no-trade list) went on MLB Network Radio over the weekend and expressed his desire to join a winner, saying, “For whatever city is going after winning, I think that could definitely change every perspective and every desire, because that trumps everything — winning.”

Acquiring Hamels, however, figures to be a feat for any interested team.

If the Red Sox were to make a move on the soon-to-be 31-year-old lefty, it would not only presumably cost a few of the team’s top prospects, but because of the no-trade issue the Sox would likely be forced to pick up the $20 million option on Hamels’ deal. In all, the club would be committing $110 million over five years.

As far as Victorino is concerned, the payout would be worth it.

“I don’€™t see any reason why you wouldn’€™t want to put him in a Red Sox uniform if it’€™s possible,” the outfielder said. “To me the biggest thing, being around long enough, if ever I’€™m in a position to build a winning team, I don’€™t understand why people fixate on the word ‘€œprospect.’€ People get fixated on prospects. Well, this guy has all the upside in the world. Has Cole Hamels done it? Yes. So why not go get Cole Hamels at whatever expense is needed. Do you want to keep some of the farm system? Yes, I understand that. Part of an organization comes from within. The Lester’s, the Pedroia’s, the Papelbon’s, the guys who were brought up through the system, got a few championships, and then unfortunately as times goes on guys move. I agree 100 percent it’€™s important to have a good minor league system. I agree with that. Some of these prospects who are being thrown around, who knows if they are going to be that guy.”

Read More: Cole Hamels, Shane Victorino,
Red Sox health updates: Clay Buchholz to undergo right knee procedure; Allen Craig’s foot considered a non-issue 09.29.14 at 2:03 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz will have what GM Ben Cherington described as a minor right knee procedure. (Getty Images)

Clay Buchholz will have what GM Ben Cherington described as a minor right knee procedure. (Getty Images)

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington announced that right-hander Clay Buchholz was expected to undergo a minor right knee procedure to repair his meniscus by head team orthopedist Dr. Peter Asnis. Cherington said that Buchholz had been dealing with the issue on and off for some time, though the discomfort hadn’t always been present and it was not significant enough to prevent him from pitching. Cherington described the meniscus injury as “not a debilitating issue,” and was not at the root of the player’s struggles (8-11, 5.34 ER) in 2014.

“Given where we are in the calendar, it’s a fairly quick recovery. Let’s just knock it out and he should have a normal offseason,” said Cherington. “It’s something that we managed. I think he would tell you it did not affect him. We’re just trying to be proactive so it doesn’t turn into something bigger.”

— Brock Holt will see Dr. Michael Collins in Pittsburgh on Oct. 9 to get clearance that he’s recovered fully from his concussion. He won’t play in games (that visit will come too late to clear him for fall instructional league), but given that Holt took batting practice and grounders in the final homestand of the season, all parties appear comfortable that he will enter the offseason healthy. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Allen Craig, Clay Buchholz, David Ortiz, mike napoli
Shane Victorino remains unfazed by wave of new Red Sox outfielders 08.26.14 at 11:30 am ET
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TORONTO — The initial response was predictable.

“Nothing has changed,” said Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino just before the team left on its current road trip.

Physically, not much would be expected to be altered since the right fielder last appeared near the Sox clubhouse. The doctors had told Victorino that it would be a month before twisting, bending and such would be allowed after the outfielder’s back surgery. It had only been a couple of weeks.

But there was indeed something that had changed in Victorino’s world.

For the second time in the last month, the Red Sox acquired an outfielder expected to start in 2015, signing Cuban center fielder Rusney Castillo. And as someone who fully expects to not have lost his starting job, that was of some interest to Victorino.

First there was the trades for Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig, leaving some to believe Victorino might be moving to center. But then came the Castillo commitment and now projected lineups are a bit more difficult to decipher.

“It’s not a bad problem to have. It gives you options. It makes guys expendable, if that’s something that you want to look at,” he said. “But again, I don’t know what the front office has in mind. I mean, obviously, you look at what’s starting to happen. With the signing of Castillo, I mean, obviously, with that contract, he’s going to play every day. Cespedes is going to play every day. Where are you going to factor in everybody else? Like I said, I still have every intention in my mind to be the right fielder every day. I have no desire to be anything else. But, as I said, we all understand that this is a business, who knows what can happen, but like I said, my mindset is to get prepared for 2015, to be the right fielder and play every day here, and we’ll go from there.”

Victorino will be heading into the final year of his three-year, $39 million deal in ’15. He was coming off a stellar ’13 campaign, not only hitting .294 with an .801 OPS, 15 homers and 21 stolen bases (in 24 attempts), but supplying a fair amount of postseason heroics.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Shane Victorino to undergo lower back surgery 08.05.14 at 12:53 pm ET
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Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino‘s injury-riddled season came to what seemed like an almost inevitable end, as the 33-year-old will undergo what is surgery on his lower back on Tuesday, the team announced. The procedure will likely end Victorino’s season. Dr. Robert Watkins, whom Victorino visited on Monday for a second opinion after an MRI in Boston identified the potential need for surgery on Friday, will perform the operation.

“‘€œI’m definitely disappointed, news that I didn’t want to get. Obviously I think we need another opinion, see where we’re at and we’re going to go from there,’€ Victorino said on Saturday. ‘€œObviously [the MRI] showed some signs of some things going on with my back that obviously it’s important for us to get a second opinion. We’ll go and see what happens and go from there.”

Victorino — who hit .294/.351/.451 in 122 games last year, even as he twice landed on the DL with similar injuries — played just 30 games between three stints on the disabled list due to hamstring and lower back injuries. He hit .268 with a .303 OBP and .382 slugging mark.

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Red Sox place Shane Victorino on DL, recall Mookie Betts 08.01.14 at 4:57 pm ET
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Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino, who left Wednesday’s game with back discomfort, has been placed on the 15-day disabled list for the third time this year. Victorino had an MRI on Friday morning; the Red Sox were awaiting results to determine a proper course of treatment. But given the recurrent nature of the injury, manager John Farrell said that the team could use the available time going forward this year to ensure that Victorino emerges healthy. In just 30 games this year, the 33-year-old is hitting .268/.303/.382.

“The one thing we do have right now is we have some time on our side, so whatever is recommended for Vic to get back to full strength, if we use the remaining months in this calendar year to our advantage, we’ll see if that makes sense,” said Farrell.

With Yoenis Cespedes not yet in Boston and unavailable to be in the starting lineup on Friday, the Red Sox called up Mookie Betts from Triple-A Pawtucket. Betts will start in center field on Friday to give the Red Sox an additional right-handed bat against Yankees (and former Red Sox) left-hander Chris Capuano. Betts is hitting .321/.408/.496 for Triple-A Pawtucket, with his most recent feat being a walkoff homer on Thursday. He’s hitting .444/.512/.667 against lefties.

Read More: mookie betts, Shane Victorino,
With additions of Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig, what will Red Sox outfield look like? 07.31.14 at 10:20 pm ET
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With the addition of Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig, the Red Sox outfield is a crowded one.

In addition to the newly acquired players, the team still has Shane Victorino, Jackie Bradley Jr., Daniel Nava, Mike Carp and super-utility guy Brock Holt.

General manager Ben Cherington gave some clarity to how that will work when speaking Thursday night, as he said Cespedes will play right field, despite never playing there in the majors, and Craig will man left field.

“As far as the alignment goes, it looks like right now [Victorino] is going to miss some time,” Cherington said. “He is still fighting some back stuff. Since he is probably going miss some time, we will use that time to try and acclimate Cespedes to right field. Even though he hasn’t played there in the major leagues, he’€™s played there in the past in Cuba, but not in the major leagues and more likely Craig in left field. We are not writing anything in stone where that goes in the future, but we’€™d like to get both guys acclimated in that way and we will see where we are.”

Holt, who has played every position except pitcher and catcher this year, will continue to play the super-utility role, just not as much corner outfield.

“I think that’€™s something John [Farrell] will decide, I think you’€™ll see him used much the same way he has, moving him around, playing a lot,’€ Cherington said. “Outfield, infield, that’€™s something John will figure out. He’€™s earned a lot of playing time. I expect he’€™ll continue to get it.”

With Victorino likely headed to the disabled list, Bradley Jr. should expect to see the same amount of playing time in center, with Holt filling in to give him an occasional off day. Nava, who has hit much better from the left side, .288 compared to .122 from the right side, could be used to give the right-handed hitting Craig or Cespedes a day off here and there. Carp, who returned July 8 from a broken foot, has only started in games at first base since. There is also a chance the club could look to make a waiver trade or even DFA him, as he requested a trade prior to the deadline.

No matter what happens, there will be plenty of excitement in the outfield as Cespedes and Bradley Jr. have two of the best arms in baseball as the two each have 12 outfield assists on the year, which leads both leagues.

Read More: Allen Craig, Red Sox outfield, Shane Victorino, Yoenis Cespedes
Shane Victorino ‘possibly’ headed to DL at 9:01 pm ET
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Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino was pulled from Wednesday night’s game with the Blue Jays in the fifth inning. Following the game, manager John Farrell said it was as a precaution due to “a little bit of change in his gait.”

On Thursday it was learned that the right fielder could be going on the disabled list for the third time this season.

“It looks like right now [Victorino] is going to miss some time,” general manager Ben Cherington said in his press conference Thursday night. “He is still fighting some back stuff.”

Later he added: “[DL'ing Victorino] is a possibility,” when asked about creating roster spots for the players traded for Thursday. “We’€™re waiting on a little more information on Vic, but it’€™s possible it could be a DL.”

Cherington said Yoenis Cespedes is going to start his time with the Red Sox in right field and Victorino going on the disabled list likely would give Cespedes everyday time at the position.

Victorino has played in just 30 of a possible 108 games this season. He was playing well since his return from the disabled list on July 19, hitting .343 (11-for-32).

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Shane Victorino’s early exit ‘totally precautionary’ 07.30.14 at 11:25 pm ET
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When Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino was taken out of Boston’€™s game against the Blue Jays Wednesday in the fifth inning, most expected the worst.

In the third inning, Victorino grounded out to Toronto shortstop Jose Reyes and appeared to ease up on his run to first base while attempting to beat out the throw. While Victorino returned to man right field in the top of the fourth, Daniel Nava took his spot in the No. 2 hole of the lineup, pinch-hitting in the bottom of the fifth.

The possibility of Victorino reaggravating the same hamstring that has sidelined him for 78 games this season was certainly a legitimate scenario, as the ailment has been a recurring issue for Victorino throughout the year.

However, when Red Sox manager John Farrell was asked about the decision to remove Victorino from the game, he said that it was a “€œtotally precautionary move.”

“After his final at-bat, when he went out and played the next inning in right field, I could tell that there was a little bit of change in his gait,”€ Farrell said. “€œHe wanted to continue on, but given what he’€™s come through, I took it out of his hands just to be extra cautious.”

Victorino has shown few signs of rust since his return from the disabled list on July 19, hitting at a .343 (11-for-32) clip with one home run and two RBIs.

Read More: John Farrell, Red Sox, Shane Victorino,
Red Sox lineup at Blue Jays: Shane Victorino sits, Brock Holt in right, Xander Bogaerts returns 07.21.14 at 3:28 pm ET
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The Red Sox will open their three-game set against the Blue Jays with four rookies in the lineup. Shane Victorino, after playing back-to-back games over the weekend (and four straight overall with the conclusion of his rehab assignment), will sit out, with Brock Holt heading to right field. He’ll flank Jackie Bradley Jr. in center, while Xander Bogaerts (after sitting on Sunday) will return to the lineup at third base, and Christian Vazquez will catch John Lackey.

For a look at how Lackey has fared against the Blue Jays and how Toronto starter Drew Hutchison has done against members of the Red Sox, click here. For comprehensive Red Sox coverage, visit weei.com/redsox.


Brock Holt, RF

Dustin Pedroia, 2B

David Ortiz, DH

Mike Napoli, 1B

Daniel Nava, LF

Stephen Drew, SS

Xander Bogaerts, 3B

Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

Christian Vazquez, C

John Lackey, RHP

Read More: Brock Holt, Shane Victorino, xander bogaerts,
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