Get those singing voices ready, Red Sox Nation. Shane Victorino is finally ready to bring the Three Little Birds back to Fenway.
After almost two months on the disabled list, and after he missed all but 21 of the season's first 96 games, the Red Sox will finally get their right fielder back on Saturday night, when Victorino bats sixth in the middle piece of a three-game series against the Royals.
Victorino returns to the club with a .242 average and .276 on-base percentage, and his rehab stint in Pawtucket didn't do much to inspire confidence that he will step right in and be a contributor at the same level he played last season.
His road back was met with a few speed bumps along the way, and he went just 3-for-27 (.111) over six games with Triple-A Pawtucket and four games with Single-A Lowell. But the club has missed his defense in right field, and if the veteran can stay on the field the Sox expect his glove to make an impact and his offense to come around.
To make room on the roster, rookie Mookie Betts was sent back to the minors. What isn't so obvious a corresponding move is what the Sox will do now with Brock Holt, who has emerged as the club's leadoff hitter while playing pretty much anywhere on the field. If Victorino is going to be an everyday player, it may take some creativity from John Farrell to find a place for Holt on a nightly basis.
Saturday, the choice was to slide Holt over to shortstop, sitting Stephen Drew against Royals' lefty Danny Duffy. Here's the rest of the lineup, along with the one Rubby De La Rosa will face as he looks to deliver Boston its sixth win in seven games: