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Victorino able to hit from both sides again

Cubs outfielder gave up switch-hitting in '14 due to back issues
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

MESA, Ariz. -- Shane Victorino never wanted to give up switch-hitting, but had to in 2014 because of his back. This spring, he's healthy and able to hit from both sides, which will definitely help the Cubs.

"To hear players talk about stopping being a switch-hitter, every single one I talk to, I say, 'If it wasn't for physical reasons, there's no other reason I would've given it up,'" Victorino said Sunday. "Some guys don't want to do it -- 'Oh, I'm not good from one side,' or 'I'm better from one side.'

MESA, Ariz. -- Shane Victorino never wanted to give up switch-hitting, but had to in 2014 because of his back. This spring, he's healthy and able to hit from both sides, which will definitely help the Cubs.

"To hear players talk about stopping being a switch-hitter, every single one I talk to, I say, 'If it wasn't for physical reasons, there's no other reason I would've given it up,'" Victorino said Sunday. "Some guys don't want to do it -- 'Oh, I'm not good from one side,' or 'I'm better from one side.'

Cubs' Spring Training info

"In today's game, the numbers game that everybody plays and the matchups, it's not a benefit to get rid of switch-hitting," he said. "If you're a switch-hitter, I don't care if you hit [.150] on one side and you hit .400 on the other, do not give it up. The way today's game is, it's about matchups, it's about this, it's about that."

A natural right-hander, Victorino is a career .299 hitter against left-handed pitching and a .265 batter versus righties. He didn't start switch-hitting until he was 20, then stopped, and resumed it two years later at the encouragement of his Double-A hitting coach, Gene Richards, who told Victorino he needed something to distinguish himself from other outfielders.

Tweet from @ShaneVictorino: ⚾️��⚾️��⚾️��⚾️EXCITED for sure!!! https://t.co/UIWUXWyj2k

Victorino stopped when it became too uncomfortable.

"It felt like a lot of times I didn't have strength on the left side and sometimes I had pain," he said.

He had back surgery in August 2014, and last year, started to test batting from the left side. But he did so in the batting cages, not in games.

"As a player, it's something I wish I never had to lose," Victorino said.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.

 

Chicago Cubs, Shane Victorino