Shane Victorino

Shane Victorino on sporadic playing time: 'I get it'

Rob Bradford
April 14, 2015 - 12:21 pm

For the fourth time this young season, Daniel Nava got the start over Shane Victorino in right field, hitting seventh against Washington and its righty starter Stephen Strasburg. Victorino has now started half of the Red Sox eight games, totaling 23 plate appearances. (He did enter the lineup halfway through the Sox' 19-inning game in New York, resulting in four at-bats.) The 34-year-old said the approach toward playing time isn't what he anticipated, but it's a dynamic he has come to understand. "We talked about it," said Victorino regarding conversations with manager John Farrell. "Obviously we discussed what was going on because the first couple of times I did get that call or text that, '€˜You'€™re down tonight,'€™ what'€™s my reply? But it was explained to me what was going on. And even from a medical standpoint they'€™ve spoken to me about it. I get it. Every athlete or every human being who wants to play every day is saying, '€˜No, no, no. Let me go.'€™ But I'€™m getting to the point in my career where I kind of understand. Of course people are going to think if this is going to be a platoon, or is this going to be a situation. If that is what people want to think ... I'€™m not looking at this way." The Red Sox had wanted to remain conservative in regards to Victorino's playing time early on in the season, even with the outfielder showing no ill effects from last season's back surgery. Helping that approach has obviously been the production of Nava, who is 4-for-9 against right-handed pitching entering Tuesday. "They say I'€™m the type of player you have to put the reigns back on, so if they don'€™t do it I'€™m just going to keep going. That'€™s their biggest fear is breaking down," Victorino said. "Getting my body and back into physical shape slowly but surely, and then riding into the sunset. "I didn'€™t know what the plan is. Obviously now I have an idea. Going into it it wasn'€™t discussed that this was going to be our plan, this is what we'€™re going to do. That just shows the depth on our team that they'€™re able to say, '€˜We'€™re going to play you but we don'€™t want to break you down, have you break down June or July.'€™" With his health staying steady, Victorino's biggest concern at this stage is finding the at-bats needed to rediscover his way as a full-time right-handed hitter. He heads into Tuesday with just two hits and three walks, with both singles off righty pitchers during the third game in Philadelphia. "It'€™s hard to get in a rhythm, but I'€™m not going to use that as an excuse as a reason why I'€™m not swinging the bat or feeling good at the plate," Victorino said. "It will happen for me. It'€™s just 20 at-bats, that'€™s all." In terms of pitchers approaching him differently now that he's not a switch-hitter, the outfielder said, "I noticed it last year, so now it'€™s just an adjustment I have to make. My timing'€™s not there. I'€™m still trying to work on that process. I'€™m still trying to work on being comfortable at the plate. I'€™ve been away from the game for a year, so it'€™s just a matter of working on things and feeling comfortable and then seeing it all fall into place. That'€™s important for me. That'€™s the biggest thing is the health. The rest of it I feel is going to come."