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Victorino hopes back issue will clear up for Game 5

ST. LOUIS -- For a player with Shane Victorino's competitive fire, having to come out of the starting lineup for Game 4 of the World Series was difficult. But his back left him no choice.

At this point, Victorino hopes he'll be ready to go for Game 5 on Monday (7:30 p.m. ET air time on FOX, 8:07 first pitch).

The right fielder began experiencing tightness in the late stages of Saturday night's Game 3, and he spent a large chunk of Sunday going through the necessary treatment.

But there simply wasn't enough time.

"I had every intention of playing," Victorino said. "Unfortunately it didn't turn out that way. It's really day to day. When I got up this morning, I thought I would be able to play, and had every intention of playing. It just didn't turn out the way I wanted to."

The player who replaced Victorino in Boston's starting lineup was Jonny Gomes, and he wound up hitting the three-run homer that fueled the Red Sox to a 4-2 victory in Game 4.

"It's great to see what happened tonight," said Victorino. "Sometimes you don't play and you see someone go in for at your position and they make a mistake, or don't have a good night, you feel worse. First of all, this guy probably doesn't think he's starting tonight. But with Jonny, I know every day he's thinking he's playing. Every day he's 'Game on.'"

Daniel Nava, who was originally supposed to bat fifth and play left field, moved over to right and also took over Victorino's No. 2 spot in the order. Gomes batted fifth and played left.

Back problems are nothing new for Victorino. He has dealt with them on and off this season and throughout his career, and they've typically represented a day-to-day type of ailment.

"This is probably the worst it's been in a while," Victorino said. "That's what's frustrating for me. I've had that feeling and it's gone away, but today was like, 'Wow!' So hopefully tomorrow it's better. It's frustrating, but on the other hand, it's great to see what happened tonight."

Aside from his game-breaking grand slam that helped the Red Sox clinch the American League Championship Series, Victorino has slumped at the plate in recent weeks.

Take away the grand slam, and Victorino has two hits in his past 33 at-bats, striking out 11 times over that span.

Victorino aggravated his back in Game 3, chasing the double by Matt Adams that went into the corner in right.

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne.
Read More: Boston Red Sox, Shane Victorino