Before everyone jumps all over me, I know that this opinion is going to be unpopular. Shane Victorino is a fan favorite and, when healthy, is one of the better outfielders in the Red Sox system. However, every little thing is not alright with Victorino's health. After missing a couple weeks in 2013, and almost all of 2014, it is reported that Victorino will be missing today's Spring Training game because of "soreness in his lower back." That same "lower back" kept Victorino out of 132 games last season and was already operated on towards the end of the season.
Come on, dude.
I know that it is just one of their first Spring Training games, but how in the name of Tom Brady are you already sore? Have you not been working tirelessly to get back into shape this offseason specifically for this reason? Pablo Sandoval looks like he ate Dustin Pedroia, yet he has been working hard and not missed a beat. This is a complete overreaction to one report, but thats what we do here at BBS. I know that if a player is even somewhat uneasy during Spring Training, then he is sat out just so it doesn't become a nagging injury. However, its not really the fact that he is sitting out, but rather that his back is already bothering him that is tickling my peach the wrong way.
As a veteran, you would expect Victorino to be adamant about being the starting right fielder for the Boston Red Sox. As a 34-year-old two-time World Series champion, one would not expect Victorino to go to Triple A or sit on the bench. However, being a 4th outfielder may be the exact role that fills Victorino's needs at this stage in his career. He does not have to play everyday and risk injury, yet can provide a spark off the bench and fill the need the Daniel Nava has not been able to recently.
For anyone that has talked to me in length or read any of my work, then you know that I'm not a Victorino fan. However, I realize that he puts behinds in the seats at Fenway and has a spunk that is contagious to the rest of the team. If they decide to keep him, I won't be angry or upset. I just don't think that he will be able to make it to June before landing a stint on the DL. I personally want to see Rusney Castillo in center field and Mookie Betts in right field, but I just don't think the Red Sox have it in them to do something like that. The only way I see a lineup like that being rolled out is if the Red Sox decide that they want to ship Victorino out for a pitcher (cough cough, Cliff Lee).
By Pete Packowski @Pete_BBS