Shane Victorino has signed a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs after being a free agent following a season with the Los Angeles Angles in a mid-season acquisition that brought infielder Josh Rutledge to Boston.
In his media availability today at Cubs camp in Mesa, Arizona, he said that his focus is on making the major league squad and doing whatever he can do to help them win a championship.
Victorino has a strong veteran presence and can play at any position in the outfield and can wreak havoc on the base paths with his speed.
He understands that whatever role he does take on will be important as every player on the roster can step up and produce in any of the given 162 games.
Being 35, he also understands the little nagging injuries that can plague a season (case and point 2014 where he was hobbled with a hamstring injury) and has been working on staying healthy as an athlete.
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales he said, "Everything feels great. A lot of it has changed. As you're getting older, you understand things you got to do differently,” he said.
"You change to a point to be a good sprinter again. You understand why they are injuries. In the way you run, you change your form to work less in areas where injuries occur to let other muscles do the work."
Gonzales also reported that he worked out with Dexter Fowler and Kris Bryant over the offseason in order to come to camp in good health and ready to bring a championship to Chicago.
"You can’t put a value on being a winner and winning a championship," Victorino said. "Being a fan of this game, going 107 years without winning a championship, if we can pull this off and win one here, People talk about Philly being great in 2008, and I love that place. It always will be home. And Boston, we did it for the city with the marathon (bombing and what happened). But to win it as a Cubbie, obviously the smile on my face says it all."
Victorino was an integral part of the 2013 World Series and his Grand Slam in game 6 of the ALCS still gives me chills.
Man, that slow motion chest bump rounding third. Can’t get any better than that.
I have always admired Victorino as a player growing up, seeing his speed on the base paths as well as in the vast expanses of the outfields he’s covered all while having a smile from ear to ear on his face.
Mahalo, Flyin’ Hawaiian; good luck in Chicago.