Shane Victorino Has Inside Track On Red Sox’s Starting Right Field Job

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Feb 20, 2015


FORT MYERS, Fla. — Shane Victorino holds the keys.

While Rusney Castillo and Mookie Betts figure to compete for significant roles in the Red Sox’s crowded outfield, manager John Farrell indicated Friday that Shane Victorino has the inside track on Boston’s starting right field job.

“If Shane Victorino is fully capable and fully healthy, he’s our right fielder,” Farrell said at JetBlue Park. “That’s pretty simple. He was one of the best right fielders in the game two years ago.

“When you come back from an injury, you shouldn’t have lost your job because of an injury. He’s rehabbed it successfully to date. And going forward, we’ve just got to monitor the recovery rate. We’ve got a full spring training to do that and probably into the first part of the year.”

Victorino was limited to 30 games in 2014 because of various injuries. He opened the season with a hamstring issue and didn’t play after July 30 because of season-ending back surgery. The Red Sox, meanwhile, bolstered their outfield down the stretch and over the offseason, leaving Victorino’s 2015 role unclear.

Hanley Ramirez, who signed a four-year, $88 million contract in November, is penciled in as Boston’s starting left fielder. Castillo, who signed a seven-year, $72.5 million contract in August, projects as a center fielder. Betts, who emerged last season, appears major league-ready. Allen Craig and Daniel Nava also remain in the Red Sox’s outfield mix.

The Red Sox aren’t weeding out Victorino, though. Victorino said several times over the offseason he intends to be Boston’s Opening Day right fielder, and Farrell’s vote of confidence Friday is the most definitive indication yet that the 34-year-old’s wish might be granted, provided he’s healthy.

“He is full-go (with) baseball activity. I think the way he’s talked in the clubhouse indicates he feels good about himself,” Farrell said. “We’ll find out as we go through camp here the durability from day to day and the volume that will increase throughout the year.”

Victorino was a huge contributor during the Red Sox’s 2013 World Series run. If Boston returns to contention in 2015, The Flyin’ Hawaiian might again be at the heart of it despite any previous doubt.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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