After missing 22 games, Victorino returns to lineup
BOSTON -- In one roster addition on Thursday, the Red Sox got an important hitter, fielder, baserunner and burst of energy.
Shane Victorino was in manager John Farrell's lineup for the first time this season, batting second and starting in right field.
"I'm going to come back and do what I do, whether it be to put down a bunt, make a play on defense, steal a base, score a run, whatever aspect it might be," said Victorino. "Hopefully that generates energy and generates runs. Any time you win, it's always good."
Getting Victorino, who went 1-for-5 in the Sox's 14-5 loss to the Yankees, back was a welcome sight for a team that has struggled out of the chute.
"This is something we've been waiting for for some time here, and Shane's return, we feel, will help solidify our outfield defense," said Farrell. "It's good to have him back in the lineup, there's no doubt about it."
Victorino strained his right hamstring in the Red Sox's final Grapefruit League, forcing him to miss the first 22 games of the regular season. For someone who loves being on the field so much, it was a tough pill to swallow.
"I just want to play. It's long awaited," Victorino said. "I'm just excited to be back out here with the guys. I've been watching from afar. I've been cheering with my pom poms, but it's time for me to put those down and get back out there and play the game I love. I'm going to give it my all, so I'm excited."
There was a different feeling in the clubhouse before Thursday's game.
"We missed not only the on-field stuff, but the energy that he brings," said Farrell. That's felt in the dugout, it's felt in the clubhouse. He came in and it was almost like Christmas morning, knowing he was going to be active in the lineup. He's a welcome sight back for us."
Victorino felt honored to know his teammates missed him so much, but he knows he is just one piece of the team.
"It's a compliment and I take it as a compliment from these guys," Victorino said. "Especially these guys that, for me, that I respect, and get to play along with every day. I take that as a great compliment. Somebody said the other day, 'Do you feel like the weight of your team is on your shoulders?' No, not at all. I think the game is hard enough as it is without having that attitude."
To make room for Victorino on the roster, the Red Sox optioned right-hander Alex Wilson back to Triple-A Pawtucket. Wilson was only on the roster for one game, and he didn't pitch.