Shane Victorino

Shane Victorino discusses emotional return to lineup and Philadelphia

John Tomase
April 06, 2015 - 10:25 am

PHILADELPHIA -- Monday is an emotional day for Shane Victorino. The Red Sox outfielder is not only returning to action after offseason back surgery that had many writing off his career, he's also making his comeback in the city he called home for eight years. Preparing to make the Opening Day start in right field, Victorino described how important this game is to him. "As I said last year when I was facing back surgery, there was a date on my calendar that I circled, that I wanted to be here for and be healthy, and that was today here in Philadelphia," Victorino said. "So it's going to be emotional for me." Victorino will face his old friend and former teammate, Cole Hamels, the Phillies ace of whom he made a request. "I texted with Cole a little bit, as friends would," Victorino said. "And I said not to embarrass me in my first at-bat as an opposing player. He laughed it off and said, 'I'll do my best. I'll let you have your time and get your ovation, and from there, we'll see what happens.' That's the kind of stuff that makes this game fun." Making the game even more meaningful is the venue. Victorino won a World Series with the Phillies in 2008 before adding another title to his resume in Boston. It just adds another layer to his recovery. "I'd never faced this kind of adversity in regards to coming off surgery," he said. "I'd never had to work this hard in regards to coming back and being healthy and proving that I'm healthy again. As an athlete, this is the kind of stuff you look forward to. This is the kind of stuff that motivates you, the kind of stuff I've always challenged myself, always called myself the underdog, and I love being that guy. "As I've said and expressed, the player that I am started here," Victorino added. "I got an opportunity as a young kid to become the baseball player that I am, and fortunately now, I've moved to a great city with great fans, a great organization."