Shane Victorino's unexpected -- and successful -- turn to the right

August 04, 2013 - 9:27 pm
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That Shane Victorino reached base four times in five trips to the plate in Sunday'€™s 4-0 win over the Diamondbacks wasn'€™t unusual in itself '€” he had gotten on at least three times in nine separate games in 2013 entering the day '€” but what was out of the ordinary was how he did it. After batting left-handed '€” and striking out '€” in the first inning against Arizona right-hander Brandon McCarthy, Victorino, a switch-hitter, turned it around and hit right-handed in his next four at-bats, all of which came against fellow righties. Victorino banged his hip into the right-field wall just shy of the Pesky Pole in the third inning, minutes before his second at-bat, in an attempt to catch A.J. Pollock'€™s foul ball that ended up glancing off his glove. He aggressively declined comment about batting righty after the game. '€œDon'€™t ask about me hitting right-handed,'€ he said before starting to take questions from reporters. '€œSo go ahead and ask about the game.'€ After the collision and non-catch in the third, Victorino worked a 2-2 count before getting hit by a pitch in the bottom half of the inning against McCarthy. He singled up the middle off McCarthy in the fifth, then again in the sixth against reliever Josh Collmenter. He was clipped by another pitch in the eighth, this time from Heath Bell. Victorino didn'€™t say whether or not any physical ailments pushed him to switching sides, but he was shaken up after his third-inning collision and took a moment afterward to recuperate. He has also been battling numerous nagging injuries on and off all season. For him to bat right-handed vs. a righty is far from normal. In nearly 3,300 plate appearances against righties in his career, about 3 percent of them have come from that side of the plate. He has done it only three times this season, all against Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Further, he has a career .268/.329/.401 slash line as a lefty against right-handers. From the right side, those numbers decrease to .205/.280/.301. Manager John Farrell said he has just '€œfelt better with it'€ of late. '€œHe feels locked in on the right side,'€ Farrell said. '€œThat'€™s part of going to the right side today where he doesn'€™t feel as comfortable from the left side. I don'€™t think he'€™s done it since he was 18- or 19-years old, hit right on right. That'€™s when he started to switch-hit. Part of it is he'€™s a little bit banged up on the left side and he just knows he'€™s in a stronger position from the right side of the plate.'€ Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, also a switch-hitter, expressed a bit of surprise, not that Victorino batted righty, but that he had such success doing it. '€œIf I had done that, I probably would have gotten killed,'€ Saltalmacchia said. '€œBecause any pitch that's up and in, I wouldn't know how to get out of the way of it. I would've gotten hurt. '€œI don't know how he did it, but it worked.'€

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