No timetable yet for Shane Victorino return after latest injury setback

June 30, 2014 - 4:54 pm
Shane Victorino was very nearly back. The outfielder just needed to complete his rehab assignment before making his much-needed return to the Red Sox outfield corps. After going on the disabled list on May 24 with a hamstring injury, Victorino was close to being able to make a contribution to the outfield, both at the plate and in the field. Things quickly changed when Victorino felt a twinge in his back while tagging up from second base on a Will Middlebrooks fly ball on June 24 against the Norfolk Tides. Victorino, who has hit .242/.276/.352 with one home run, 10 RBIs, five doubles and one triple in 21 games in 2014, said he felt a "click" in his back before pregame but did not think much of it. "I thought that it was because I was feeling good and the muscles were relaxing," Victorino said. "Once in a while, I'll usually get a click in there where you can hear the disc kind of popping. I felt that, but it was a little different than the normal, but I thought it was OK." In reaction to the slipped disc in his back, Victorino received an epidural shot, further delaying the 33-year-old's return to the big leagues. Victorino, who experienced lower back tightness during the Red Sox's World Series run in 2013, says the current soreness in his back is related any previous injuries. While the injury is in the same general vicinity as the back soreness he experienced during the playoff run, Victorino says he is not concerned about the back soreness becoming a recurring injury. "This one was different. Last year, it wasn't my disc slipping out," he said. "It was just a muscle spasm and it was a bad situation so we decided to take the shot to calm that area down once the disc was back in place. Everything feels good." Right now, the Red Sox and Victorino are taking a slightly more cautious approach in the treatment of his injury. "We are taking it day by day," he said. "I think we're obviously going to try to take a slow approach to this in regards to coming back. Slow, but aggressive. We're going to try to get out there as fast as we can but we don't want something to obviously resurface. Everything else in regards to the hamstring, which is why I was originally on the DL, feels good." Considering his two stints on the disabled list so far this season, Victorino feels partially responsible for the outfield's inability to generate runs so far in 2014. Coming into Monday's contest, Red Sox outfielders were hitting .238/.282/.349 with 13 home runs and a combined WAR of 21 (20th in MLB). Victorino is frustrated there is nothing he can do to help in his current physical state. "If there is a bigger culprit than what has gone on to this point, I'm at the top of the list by not being out there," Victorino said. "Looking at what's going on, I have every bit of confidence in guys in the clubhouse to keep doing what I'm doing and the guys that have gotten called up." Victorino says that he has 100 percent confidence that the Red Sox can make a run at the division in the second half. "We're six games back," Victorino said. "I've been in worse. I've been in a position where we were 7 1/2 with 18 to go in [Philadelphia] and we ended up winning the division. We were in second in [the National League East]. We had a big series this weekend and we took two out of three. That's the kind of stuff where if we continue to do what we have to do, we're going to continue to play those team head-to-head. We're going to get our chance to make up ground. I think we're geared up for it." While Victorino hopes to be back in the majors before the end of the homestand (June 10), the team has not outlined a plan yet for the outfielder to make his return. "I want it to be sooner than later," Victorino said. "I think from an aspect of making sure that I'm ready and healthy and ready to play, I have no time table. I'm hoping by the end of the homestand. That's my goal, as soon as I can. As many games as I can. As we talked about, if it's one game before the All-Star break or one game before we leave on the homestand or a week from now, I'll be ready to go. We're going to let my body dictate that."