The Red Sox crew at left field ranks 27th among MLB teams as far as offensive production, but with the return of Shane Victorino likely tonight when the Red Sox take on the Yankees in the final game of this series, could the Flyin’ Hawaiian be what the Red Sox need?
With energy, speed, good defense, timely hitting and experience in the leadoff spot Victorino could potentially bring some stability to an outfield that has been inconsistent to say the least.
Daniel Nava was optioned to Pawtucket Wednesday due to struggles at the plate, Mike Carp hasn’t hit in his last seven at-bats, Grady Sizemore has gone two for his last 22 and Jonny Gomes has gone four of his last 19 at-bats. It’s hard to imagine that it could get much worse.
The bigger problem to me is I don’t know if Victorino can give the Red Sox what they need. He’s not the type of offensive player that can carry a team like, dare I say, Jacoby Ellsbury. Victorino is a great complimentary piece that overachieved like the whole Red Sox team did last season.
In Victorino’s final rehab game in Pawtucket it was ugly as he was 0-4 with three strikeouts. He also was charged with an error in right field. In his three rehab games, Victorino went 1-11 (.091) with zero walks and three K’s.
“The outcome of what goes on down here doesn’t really matter,” said Victorino. “I’ve seen guys come down here in the rehab process, and I’ve been there before where I’ve swung the bat great down here and gone back up to the big leagues and didn’t get a hit for a while. I think it’s just a matter of getting comfortable.”
It’s a nice thought, but then there is the fact that AAA pitching isn’t as good as Major League pitching. And there’s that whole category of guys who hit well in AAA, then come up and continue that success. It’s good he’s not concerned and he shouldn’t be, but success in AAA brings players to the majors.
“Everything felt great,” Victorino said. “I definitely got tested today in right. I had a couple of plays out there. My body feels good, so we’ll go from here.”
If Victorino can’t produce like most of the Red Sox outfielders so far, then the answer may be outside the organization. Problem being the Red Sox are already last in the division and teams won’t be selling off players this early in the season. If it gets to a point where teams become sellers because their playoff chances are unlikely, then what will the 2014 Red Sox record look like?
For now, let’s hope Victorino has a good outing and I’ve just been rambling about nothing.