The Portland Sea Dogs were joined by Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino over the weekend for a two-game rehab assignment, after he was placed on the disabled list in late-April with a hamstring injury that has plagued him since signing with Boston before the 2013 season. Victorino played a huge role for the 2013 World Series Championship team, launching a grand slam in game six of the American League Championship Series and a three-run double in game six of the World Series.
Victorino got the start in right field for the Sea Dogs’ in their series opener against the Colorado Rockies affiliate New Britain Rock Cats on Friday night at Hadlock Field, and went 0-3 with a strikeout from the second spot in the batting lineup. After striking out looking in the bottom of the first inning, he reached base on a throwing error by the Rock Cats’ third baseman Jayson Langfels in the bottom of the third. After flying out to left field to begin the sixth, Victorino was replaced in right field by Jonathan Roof to start the seventh inning.
The cold and windy weather weren’t ideal conditions for rehabbing a Hamstring injury, but Victorino seemed to respond well in his first game back.
“It wouldn’t say it’s great, it was a little chilly out there tonight,” he told reporters after Friday night’s game. “But you know, it’s good…there wasn’t much action for me other than that ground ball right at first base…hopefully tomorrow we’ll pick up a little more, get a little more action out there….it will be interesting to see [how I] bounce back from a night game to a day game.”
He was back at it on Saturday afternoon, again getting the start in right field and batting second in the lineup.
With one out in the bottom of the first, Victorino chopped a weak grounder back to Rock Cats’ pitcher Yohan Flande, who flipped the ball to first for the out. After popping out to first base in the fourth, he was retired on a ground ball to third base in his third and final at-bat in the seventh.
“It would have been nice to barrel-up a ball, but the most important thing for me was to come out of the game feeling good,” Victorino told Kevin Thomas of the Portland Press Herald. “At first I went [fast], but then I realized there is no reason for me to kill it…better to be smart than stupid.”
In two games with the Sea Dogs Victorino went 0-6 with a strikeout and three runners left on base. He did not play in Sunday’s series finale, instead joining the Red Sox in Boston for their flight to Oakland where he would be activated from the disabled list.
The Boston Red Sox have largely failed to live up to this season’s expectations after a last place finish in 2014, but Victorino isn’t quite ready to hit the panic button.
“It’s early, being in this market people starting hitting that button, and you know what button I am talking about,” he told reporters on Friday night.
“Obviously we started off well as a team, [then] hit a little snag,” he said. “But again, we play 162 games…hopefully this is something that happens early in the season and we get moving in the right direction, and once it heats up, hopefully we go in the right direction.”