Shane Victorino is focused on what he can control.
The Boston Red Sox’s outfield has become a very crowded place in recent weeks with the acquisitions of Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig and Rusney Castillo. Victorino, who is sidelined for the remainder of 2014 after undergoing back surgery, understands the reality of the situation but isn’t changing his tune with regards to 2015.
“I’ll do whatever, I don’t care. Like I said, if they feel like there’s somebody better in right (field), then go ahead and show me,” Victorino told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford before the Red Sox’s current road trip. “I’m not saying it in a cocky or bragging way. An injury took me away from that position. Like I said, I have every intention of coming back healthy and being the right fielder.
“I don’t know, as I said, what their plan is. Castillo is obviously a center fielder, they say, who can fly. He can play right, but I’m sure he can play a lot of other different positions. But you know, as I said, I’m just focused on going out there, getting healthy, more importantly, and wherever they slot me to play, I’ll be ready to go.”
Victorino has been limited to 30 major league games this season because of various injuries. The 33-year-old finally went under the knife earlier this month in an effort to erase any concerns about his status going into next season. Victorino, who is under contract for one more year at $13 million, fully intends to be ready for the start of spring training, even if there is some uncertainty about his future in Boston with Cespedes, Craig and Castillo joining an outfield picture that also features the likes of Daniel Nava, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt.
“It’s not a bad problem to have. It gives you options. It makes guys expendable, if that’s something that you want to look at,” Victorino told Bradford . “But again, I don’t know what the front office has in mind. I mean, obviously, you look at what’s starting to happen. With the signing of Castillo, I mean, obviously, with that contract, he’s going to play every day. Cespedes is going to play every day. Where are you going to factor in everybody else?
“Like I said, I still have every intention in my mind to be the right fielder every day. I have no desire to be anything else. But, as I said, we all understand that this is a business, who knows what can happen, but like I said, my mindset is to get prepared for 2015, to be the right fielder and play every day here, and we’ll go from there.”
Victorino, who currently is in the midst of a three-year, $39 million contract he signed with the Red Sox before last season, was an integral part of Boston’s 2013 World Series run. The veteran outfielder hit .294 with 15 homers, 61 RBIs, an .801 OPS and 21 stolen bases in 122 regular-season games while also providing premium defense in a tricky right field. He then elevated his game in the postseason, producing several key hits, including a game-winning grand slam in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers.
Victorino has been a sparkplug whenever he’s been in the Red Sox’s lineup. Unfortunately for the two-time All-Star, this season has been a frustrating one health-wise and it has forced Boston to think outside the box, especially with regards to the outfield, while gearing up for 2015.