BOSTON – Right fielder Shane Victorino has been on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain since May 21, missing 23 games. Along with 22-game DL stint to start the season, also a right hamstring strain, he has appeared in just 21 games this season, batting .242/.276/.352.
Victorino, along with Will Middlebrooks, began a rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday, and is playing for the PawSox again Monday night at Rochester, batting second, playing right field. Both are scheduled to play Tuesday also, to get them into back-to-back game activity, and then a day off.
“The increase the consecutive games played,” said manager John Farrell. “So one on, one off. Two one, one off. Three on, one off.
Farrell said Monday afternoon there is a possibility Victorino, who is closer to a return than Middlebrooks, could be activated on the upcoming 10-game, 11-day, three-city road trip West Coast trip which begins Friday with four games in Oakland, before three in Seattle, an off day, and then three at the Yankees.
But when Victorino returns, he will join a group of outfielders that includes Jackie Bradley, Jr., Jonny Gomes, Daniel Nava, Grady Sizemore, and now Brock Holt, whose defensive versatility and offensive production have made him virtually indispensable.
So, some moves will have to be made.
“With Vic’s progression taking place, provided there are no setbacks, there’s going to be the need for a roster decision upon his return,” Farrell said.
That is barring any setbacks to Victorino
“We’ve got a tentative plan that has him returning to us while we’re on the West Coast,” Farrell said. “But that doesn’t’ pinpoint an exact day, either. Whether it’s Oakland or Seattle, that’s to be determined.”
When Victorino does return, his playing time will have to be monitored to avoid other injuries and setbacks.
“He’s had that recurring injury twice,” Farrell said. “So, we have to be mindful of that.”
Sizemore could be the one that pays the price when Victorino returns. He is batting just .216/.288/.324. Nava has hit well since he was called up on June 2, batting .379, going 11-for-29 with a .486 on-base percentage. Gomes is expected to stay in a left field platoon, playing against left-handed starters.
“Brock’s emergence in the outfield has definitely taken away from Grady and the at-bats there,” Farrell said. “Particularly with the way Daniel Nava has come on of late, Grady has lost some at-bats.
“We’ve talked about it. He realizes the the guys he’s in competition with here. So, he’s a little bit of a victim of the performance of other guys.”