Shane Victorino’s 2014 season has been laced with frustration. The veteran outfielder, a key component of the Boston Red Sox’s 2013 World Series run, has been limited to 21 games because of injuries.
Victorino, who landed on the disabled list with a hamstring injury on May 24, continues to press on in his quest to rejoin the Red Sox as soon as possible. The 33-year-old’s most recent step Tuesday involved his fourth rehab start with Triple-A Pawtucket, in which he played six innings in right field and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Victorino is 0-for-13 in five minor league rehab games.
The Red Sox originally expected Victorino to join them during their current West Coast road trip, but back soreness threw a wrench into those plans. Victorino was sidelined for a few days before returning to game action with Single-A Lowell on Monday.
“It was weird,” Victorino told reporters in Pawtucket before Tuesday’s game. “I felt some clicking before the (June 17) game (in Rochester). I thought that was just some movement in my back, it was loosening up. Will (Middlebrooks) hit a ball to deep right. I went back to second, took off for third, and I locked up.
“I thought it was just something where I might have got stiff. But the next few days were awful.”
Victorino didn’t play nine innings Tuesday like he hoped. It’s likely the Red Sox will want Victorino to clear that hurdle before activating him from the DL, although it’s still possible he could return this weekend when the club travels to New York for three games against the Yankees.
Victorino, who last played with the Red Sox on May 23, acknowledged that this season has been extremely frustrating, both in terms of his injuries and Boston’s overall struggles. Victorino has dealt with bumps and bruises in the past, but this year’s ailments have been a different story and The Flyin’ Hawaiian doesn’t want others to get the idea he’s suddenly a “high maintenance” player.
“That’s the last thing I want to be known as,” Victorino said. “And that’s the part, I’ve never been like that. And that’s why I say it’s frustrating, because there’s not an answer. Prior years have I gone on the DL? Yes, but two weeks and I’m back. It’s never been like linger, linger, linger. In fact, my wife said the other day, ‘Dude, how long has it been?’ I said, ‘Hon, it’s been almost a month.’ She said, ‘Yeah I thought these two weeks were long. So when your own significant other says that to you, she’s not accustomed to this.”
The Red Sox, who relied so much on Victorino both offensively and defensively last season amid their incredibly consistent climb to the top, certainly aren’t accustomed to this, either.