Shane Victorino

Shane Victorino on switch-hitting: 'I would like to try it again'

Rob Bradford
February 26, 2015 - 12:29 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- There was some uncertainty if Shane Victorino would ever return to switch-hitting. Thursday, he offered some certainty. The Red Sox outfielder proclaimed after taking batting practice on the Fenway South fields that he would be hitting from both side of the plate this season. Victorino had abandoned hitting from the left side at the end of the 2013 season due to thumb and hamstring injuries. "Yeah, absolutely," the outfielder said when asked if he was looking forward to returning to life of a switch-hitter. "Everything feels great. It'€™s something I'€™ve been successful at and that I would like to go back to. The body feels good, and we'€™ll go from there. It'€™s a good thing to have in your back pocket, being able to switch-hit. "I came into camp, I spoke to them about it and I told them I would like to try it again and they were all for it." Victorino did mix in three at-bats as a lefty hitter during the 2013 postseason, but the other 60 plate appearances came from the right side. He didn't have any at-bats as a lefty in '14. "I feel awkward taking BP sometimes, and that'€™s the kind of things I want to work on," he explained. "It'€™s about feel, it'€™s about path. But I have to get that feel. I'€™ve got to get that understanding of letting myself go. I have time. I'€™ve always been an aggressive hitter, but sometimes I can'€™t control my hands because it'€™s not natural so I have to slow everything down. I'€™m working on those kind of things. But it'€™s more about at-bats and seeing pitches. I feel great taking BP, but once that ball starts sinking, moving and changing speeds it'€™s a different ballgame. But I'€™ve been there before." Over his career, Victorino has better success from one side of the plate, excelling as a righty (.865 OPS) more then as a left-handed hitter (.724). His last two seasons (2012-13) as a full-time switch-hitter he had a combined .879 OPS as a right-handed hitter, and .655 OPS as a lefty. New Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis is optimistic about Victorino's return to a practice he began back in 2005. "From one year to the next, even if you'€™ve done it before, you come back to spring training and you try and refine it," said Davis, who was also a switch-hitter. "He hasn'€™t forgotten anything. I think the thing with him is that it'€™s going to be such a pleasure to get back on that said and do the same things. All he'€™s doing is trying to retrain himself with the habits he had left-handed. He'€™s going about it the right way. "I'€™m sure for him, you jump on the right side guys who didn'€™t throw that little slider, now they figure they can play with him differently. He feels good and he works at it. It'€™s probably going to come back quicker than he thinks."

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