BOSTON — Shane Victorino keeps living up to his nickname.
Victorino, also known as The Flyin’ Hawaiian, laid it all on the line yet again in the Red Sox’ 4-0 victory over the Diamondbacks on Sunday, and the toughness he has shown this season really embodies what Boston is all about.
Victorino reached base four times in Sunday’s win. He collected two hits and got hit twice while also driving in Boston’s fourth run in the sixth inning. The switch-hitter batted exclusively from the right side of the plate Sunday, even against right-handers, and it’s part of some adjustments that he has made offensively.
“From the right side of the plate, he’s moved closer. He’s felt better with it,” manager John Farrell said. “About a week ago, he felt like he was running out of bat, like the swing was out of the strike zone at times. He feels locked in on the right side. That’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 probably 18 or 19 years old, hit right on right. That’s when he started to switch hit. But part of it is he’s a little banged up on the left side and he just feels he’s in a stronger position from the right side of the plate.”
Victorino’s effort at the plate Sunday went a long way toward helping the Red Sox secure a win, but it’s his glove work and overall grit that continue to stand out. He has battled numerous injuries this season, and it has often looked like he’s not 100 percent, yet the 32-year-old is willing to literally run through a wall in order to help the club.
In fact, Victorino had a brush with the right field wall in the third inning of Sunday’s game, as he landed awkwardly on top of the wall near Pesky’s Pole while trying to make a leaping grab in foul territory. Although he didn’t make the catch, the effort still drew a loud ovation from the Fenway crowd, which certainly appreciates players who feature such a hard-nosed style of play.
“Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to land that way on the wall,” Victorino said. “I honestly didn’t think that when the ball was up there and I thought I had a chance, and obviously I did. I put a glove on it. One thing that was on my mind, and that was to catch it. I didn’t think of what and where I was going to end up. Obviously, looking back on it, it wasn’t the best position when I did hit the wall and how I looked and landed uncomfortably. But again, it’s one of those things any time we get a chance to make an out, I’m going to try to make it.”
Victorino has no plans to change his style, regardless of how banged up he’s been this year. It’s part of what makes Victorino so successful, and it’s one reason why his coaches and teammates have a great deal of respect for him.
“A fastball off the shoulder compared to how many times he’s run into the wall probably seems like a fly landed on him,” Farrell said. “But again, he’s fearless. He slams into the wall trying to run down a fly ball that goes foul. It didn’t have any effect on him at the plate, and I think we’ve come to know over the course of this year he’s got an extremely high pain threshold.”
There’s no telling how many bruises Victorino will pile up before this season’s over. He’ll live with them, though, and so will the Red Sox, as long as he stays on the field amid his tenacious style.
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