Energy, character, and playoff experience were the main talking points as the Red Sox introduced outfielder Shane Victorino to the media Thursday afternoon at Fenway Park. Sox general manager Ben Cherington praised Victorino’s versatility both on and off the field.
“He’s been a big part of great teams,” said Cherington. “He’s a guy who can do a lot of things on the baseball field: Great defender, great baserunner, hitter from both sides of the plate, and one of the highest energy guys in the game. We’re thrilled to add him to our team and to our clubhouse.”
Mentioning the team’s tradition, Victorino called Fenway Park one of his favorite places to play as an opponent. He said he was “ecstatic” to call Boston home for the next three years. On the team’s recent clubhouse turmoil and last-place finish in 2012, Victorino said he hoped to be part of the solution.
“The last couple years has been definitely tough for the Boston organization,” said Victorino. “At the end of the day we look beyond that now. We need to look forward to 2013 and being that organization that we can be. The game of baseball is the game of baseball. It happens sometimes like that and you can’t put a finger on it.”
Victorino said he did not need to be sold hard on coming to Boston.
“There was no convincing,” said Victorino. “It’s Boston. That in itself says it all. It’s the Red Sox.
“I look at the chemistry on this team… I look at the makeup of this team. This is one of those things we can turn around. That’s the goal. We don’t want to be known as the team that didn’t make the playoffs.”
Victorino signed a three-year, $39 million deal with the Sox. He has primarily played center field in his big league career (762 games), but he is slated to start in right field as Jacoby Ellsbury mans center field for the Red Sox. Victorino won three consecutive gold gloves for the Phillies from 2008 to 2010.
“I did the same thing when I went to LA,” Victorino said of moving to right field. “People talked about how I should be the center fielder going there. I always look at it as, ‘I’m going to help this team win’. I came in as a right fielder. If you speak to [Phillies manager] Charlie Manuel you can ask him, he thinks I was the best right fielder who ever played.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love center field, I want to be a center fielder, but I play right. I’m excited for the opportunity. I might wrap myself around that pole, but if I’ve got to go get the ball I’ve got to go get it.”
The 32-year-old Victorino set a career-high with 39 stolen bases in 154 games for the Phillies and Dodgers last season. He ranks second among major league players with 46 triples since 2009.
We may soon get more details on the Mike Napoli holdup. Napoli has had injury issues surrounding his legs and hip and that may be where the Red Sox want some language protection.
The team continues to look for pitching, focusing on Ryan Dempster, but also in on Kyle Lohse, Anibal Sanchez, and Edwin Jackson.