FORT MYERS, Fla. — Shane Victorino spoke to reporters for 13 minutes this morning in the clubhouse. There were very few pauses.
Victorino is a high-energy player on the field and has personality that reflects that. The 32-year-old arrived in camp today and seemed genuinely thrilled to be joining the Red Sox.
“It’s a storied franchise. To be part of his organization, the last couple of years has been pretty rough,” Victorino said. “But at the end of the day, it’s about 2013. It’s about putting those years behind us as an organization and moving forward. I’m excited to be part of this team.”
Victorino, who is known as the Flyin’ Hawaiian, isn’t setting out to change the tenor in the clubhouse.
“Winning heals all,” he said. “When you don’t win, people are always going to wonder and find answers why. People are going to blame the clubhouse, the atmosphere. I wasn’t here to be a part of that. The backbone of this team is still there.”
Victorino will be in camp for about two weeks before joining Team USA for the World Baseball Classic. He plans to work as much as possible with center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury before he leaves and when he returns. Victorino has been a center fielder for much of his career and is making the change to right field.
“Hopefully he stays healthy, I think that’s the most important part. Jacoby needs to stay healthy,” Victorino said. “He’s had some unfortunate injuries but when he’s healthy, to me, I think he’s one of the best center fielders in the game. It’s going to be fun playing alongside him.”
Victorino played for Team USA in 2009 and enjoyed the experience. But he said it was a tough decision this year given that he was joining a new team.
“Of course it was. You don’t want to get pulled away from the organization in regards from that,” Victorino said. “That USA team that I get to play on and represent our country was the deciding factor for me.”
Victorino will be the fourth outfielder for Team USA. But manger Joe Torre has told Victorino he’ll get enough at-bats to prepare for the season. He also assumes Torre knows he needs to play right field, too.
“I’m not worried about it,” he said.
Victorino was traded from the Phillies to the Dodgers last July 31. When the Dodgers obtained Carl Crawford from the Red Sox on Aug. 25, Victorino knew his days in Los Angeles were numbered.
With Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier in the outfield, there was no room for Victorino.
The Red Sox aggressively pursued him as a free agent. Victorino’s three-year, $39 million was one of the surprises of the offseason.
“I never thought Boston would be the team I would end up at,” Victorino said. “I knew that an opening would open here. Given the opportunity to come here, I was pretty excited.”