Red Sox place Shane Victorino on DL with Grade 1 hamstring strain, call up Jackie Bradley Jr.

March 31, 2014 - 6:47 am

BALTIMORE -- No one said defending a title would be easy. After an MRI on Shane Victorino's injured right hamstring on Sunday afternoon, the Red Sox elected to place their anticipated starting right fielder on the disabled list with a Grade 1 hamstring strain (the mildest grade). While he would be eligible to come off the DL as early as April 14 -- after the first 13 scheduled games of the year -- the Red Sox suggest that they will wait before determining whether he'll be back at that point. "It'€™s going to require some time down. We'€™ll have a better read on his potential availability, I would say, probably seven to 10 days into the 15-day DL stint and see how he responds to treatment from that point," said manager John Farrell. "The overall projected date of return, it will be when he'€™s ready to go. Whether that'€™s 15 days or beyond remains to be seen." Victorino will need a rehab assignment before his activation from the DL. Though he only played 10 spring training games in the Grapefruit League, Farrell suggested that he won't necessarily need a protracted rehab assignment before re-joining the big league team. "I thought he was swinging the bat better this spring than at any point last year," said Farrell. "Focusing on the one side of the plate, as compact a swing as he has, the timing is usually good with Vic -- he'€™s one of the guys that needs fewer at-bats on the spectrum of getting ready than maybe some others. We'€™ll see how he goes through the rehab assignment when he'€™s coming back." To replace him on the roster, the Sox recalled outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. from Triple-A Pawtucket, three days after the 23-year-old had been optioned after seeing the everyday center field job claimed by Grady Sizemore. With Victorino sidelined, the Sox envision that his playing time will be divided among Bradley, Mike Carp and Jonny Gomes along with Daniel Nava in the outfield corners. "He'€™s done such a great job for us and you talk about a Gold Glove guy in right field, top-of-the-order hitter that, instinctually, is a very good player," said Farrell. "As we tapped into our depth last year many times over, unfortunately we'€™re doing it on Day One so Vic will be missed but we'€™ve got good players to step in and ready to contribute.'€ Victorino worked through a host of injuries in spring training, first working his way back from late-offseason thumb surgery, then taking time before entering games to build his core strength and enduring soreness in his left side in the later days of camp. However, the Red Sox were convinced that he would be good to go for Opening Day -- going so far as to put him in major league games at the end of spring training, something that limited the number of days back at which they could retroactively commence his disabled list assignment -- until, in the final game of the spring, he tweaked his hamstring while rounding first. Victorino's disabled list placement is retroactive to March 30, meaning the earliest he could be activated would be April 15, after 13 scheduled games will have taken place. Victorino played in 10 big league games this spring, hitting .250 with a .323 OBP and .357 slugging mark while dividing his time between right field and center. Bradley appeared in 19 games, hitting .158/.213/.263 while also playing center and right. For the season opener against Baltimore on Monday, Bradley will be available off the bench, with Mike Carp starting in left field and Daniel Nava moving from left to right field in Camden Yards.