Shane Victorino is finished with switch-hitting.
Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell broke the news before Saturday’s spring-training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates that Victorino will bat only from the right side. It’s as much about reducing the risk of injury as it is about performance, after the outfielder felt some discomfort while hitting left-handed this spring.
“I think with all the work he’s been doing in the cage swinging left-handed, some of the tightness that he has, (he) felt it was as a result of the left-handed swing,” Farrell said, via RedSox.com. “That gets alleviated (swinging right-handed), and I think that has a chance to free up his mind, as well. That’s the plan going forward with him — he’s going to hit right-handed.”
Victorino said last month that “everything feels great” while hitting left-handed, but something changed. He didn’t switch hit last year for the first time in his 11-year major league career, as he limped through 2014 with various injuries. He was 2-for-16 (.125) overall in spring training entering Saturday.
Historically, Victorino has been a much better hitter from the right side, batting .303 in 1,456 career plate appearances right-on-left, compared to .268 in 3,208 career plate appearances left-on-right. Victorino is just a .250 hitter in 296 career plate appearances when batting right-on-right, so he must make some adjustments if he wants to avoid a platoon situation in a crowded Boston outfield that now lacks a switch-hitter.
“You want the most productive at-bats, regardless of what side they come from,” Farrell said, via RedSox.com. “And in Vic’s case, it was starting to take its toll, just the reps he was going through to try to get that swing productive. It was starting to become counterproductive (to) the way he was feeling physically. That’s the rationale behind him going right-handed.”
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images