BOSTON – Shane Victorino had been optimistic that he would make his return to the Red Sox lineup Friday night against the Royals at Fenway Park. Instead, he is back with Triple-A Pawtucket.
Victorino, who is batting second and playing right field as the PawSox host Buffalo, attempted to plead his case to manager John Farrell. This time, though, it didn’t work.
Victorino went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a strikeout on Thursday for the PawSox.
“He always finds a way to say his piece,” Farrell said Friday afternoon. “He came out of last night in good shape physically. He ran the bases aggressively. He went from first to third a couple of different times, slid headfirst, couple of base hits, made three plays, I believe, in right field. Last night was a very good night for him and we anticipate him getting through tonight in a similar fashion physically.
“There’s a situation that has him active for us tomorrow.”
That would be the first time since May 23 for Victorino, who has been limited to just 21 major league games because of hamstring and back ailments.
“We’ve missed his energy. We’ve missed his talents, his in-game decisions, his instincts on the basepaths,” Farrell said. “We’ve missed a very good player for the majority of the year.
“We’re very much looking forward to getting him back. We recognize there’s been a couple of starts and stops along the way. What kind of production he gives us immediately remains to be seen.”
• Will Middlebrooks is also in the lineup for the PawSox tonight, playing third base, batting third. This will be his first game action since July 11, when he suffered a strained left wrist diving headfirst into a base. The Sox recalled him from his rehab assignment on July 13.
There had been plans for Middlebrooks to get some time in the outfield, but those have been put on hold for the time being, as he focuses solely on third base. Middlebrooks has been on the DL since May 17 with a fractured right index finger. He’s been slowed first by swelling in the middle knuckle of that finger and then by the wrist injury.
On Thursday Farrell had said he was hopeful both Victorino and Middlebrooks would return to the team at the same time. On Friday, he clarified that.
“I wouldn’t say they’re tied to each other,” Farrell said.
But, he also couldn’t say when Middlebrooks would be back. Middlebrooks also has been limited to just 21 major league games, with two stints on the DL this season.
“We’re hopeful Will is fully healed over the things he’s been battling,” Farrell said. “The wrist, the finger, and he gets back to us as a productive player.
“But with either move, there’s corresponding moves and we’ve got to work through those.”
• Ryan Lavarnway is the third and final player the Sox currently have on the DL. He has been out since May 30 with a left hamate fracture. He was called up May 26 and got into just four games before the injury.
He took a step forward Friday, tweeting this:
I played in my first rehab game today in Ft Myers. It was great to get back out there again!
— Ryan Lavarnway (@RyanLavarnway) July 18, 2014