Shane Victorino goes on disabled list

ByGordon Edes ESPN logo
Saturday, May 24, 2014

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Shane Victorino's long-running leg issues have landed him on the disabled list again.

The Red Sox placed Victorino on the 15-day DL with a strained right hamstring on Saturday and recalled outfielder Daniel Nava from Triple-A Pawtucket. Nava was joined by pitcher Brandon Workman, who is expected to be activated for Sunday's start in place of left-hander Felix Doubront, who also is on the DL with a strained left shoulder. Nava was not in Saturday's lineup against Rays left-hander David Price, but is expected to start Sunday against Rays right-hander Jake Odorizzi.

Victorino was injured running down the first-base line after bunting into a force play in the ninth inning Friday night. He was lifted for pinch runner Jonny Gomes, and after a full workup Saturday morning, the Sox elected to place him on the DL.

Victorino, 33, had missed 22 games at the start of the season after straining the same hamstring in the team's last spring training game. Manager John Farrell had said Friday night that the hope was the injury wasn't as severe this time.

"We still think it's not as severe,'' Farrell said Saturday, "but with the other situations that we're also managing, his was the most clear-cut for need of some downtime, so he's on the DL."

The Red Sox also are dealing with a variety of health issues with first baseman Mike Napoli that will require him to be out of the lineup for the foreseeable future, Farrell said. Napoli is not fully recovered from the flu-like symptoms that caused him to miss two games earlier this week, and also has not fully healed from the dislocated finger he incurred sliding head-first into second base in Chicago on April 15. He also has hamstring and calf issues, Farrell said.

DH David Ortiz was given Saturday as a planned day off to help him manage a calf issue, Farrell said.

This is the sixth time since the start of the 2010 season that Victorino has been placed on the DL for hamstring, thumb and abdominal issues. He went on the DL a year ago at almost the same time (May 21) for a strained left hamstring, and was plagued throughout last season with hamstring and back issues that limited him to 122 games in 2013. He also underwent nerve surgery on his right thumb last December.

Despite all the time he missed, Victorino played a key role for the Sox last season, winning a Gold Glove in right field, hitting 15 home runs, stealing 21 bases, and posting a slash line of .294/.351/.451/.802. His WAR of 5.8 last season was second on the Red Sox to Dustin Pedroia's 6.6.

This year, however, has been a struggle, especially against right-handed pitching. A one-time switch-hitter, Victorino, who elected to bat exclusively right-handed last August for reasons he has never fully explained, has posted a slash line of .212/.254/.348/.602 against right-handers, and recently was dropped from the No. 2 spot in the order to sixth. He hit his first home run of the season Wednesday off Toronto right-hander Drew Hutchison.

Nava returns just over a month after being sent down to Pawtucket on April 22 with a .149 batting average in 17 games with the Sox. With Pawtucket, Nava hit .253 (21-for-83) with three doubles, three home runs, and 14 RBI in 24 games. Only the Chicago Cubs (11-24) have a worse record in the majors against right-handed starters this season than the Sox (10-21), who clearly have missed the production they got from three hitters from the left side last season (Nava, Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia).

"Obviously, I'm thrilled to be back,'' said Nava, whose .385 on-base percentage last reason ranked fifth in the American League. "I was aware it was a process. I didn't give myself a timetable. They didn't give me a timetable. I had no clue whether it was going to be today or another month. [If] I started to focus on that, it was going to be detrimental to me, so I stopped focusing on that. I had to handle what was in front of me. I had to work on some things. Nothing was going to change unless I addressed some issues that were the reasons I was sent down.''

Nava could wind up in a platoon again with Jonny Gomes in left field, although Farrell said that he may use a variety of outfield combinations with Victorino on the DL. Jackie Bradley Jr. could play some right, he said, as well as Gomes and Nava.

"Obviously, I didn't want to be sent down,'' said Nava, 31. "Obviously, I would have liked to stay up through it, but at the same time if I wasn't doing what I was doing, it never would have happened.

"If you're going to be proud of what you did that was good, you have to bear responsibility for when things aren't going well. I had to do that. Who knows, if I didn't do that, I may not be back here. Like I said, I've been down this road before. The bitterness factor doesn't get you anywhere.''