Victorino: 'I'm looking forward to 2013'

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Victorino: 'I'm looking forward to 2013'

BOSTON With the addition of switch-hitter Shane Victorino, the Red Sox hope they have added some balance to a lineup that had become right-handed heavy. In 154 games in 2012, just off his career high of 156 games in 2009, Victorino hit .255 with 11 home runs, 55 RBI, a .321 on-base percentage, and a .383 slugging percentage between the Phillies and the Dodgers, who acquired him at the trading deadline.
He also had a career-high 39 stolen bases, with just six times caught stealing, for an impressive 86.6 percent success rate.
Victorino, who is expected to be the starting right fielder with Jacoby Ellsbury in center and Jonny Gomes in left, is a three-time Gold Glover, in 2008 2010. He will also offer some versatility in the outfield having played 762 games in center, 148 in right, and 111 in left.
However, how much offense Victorino will be able to add from the left side remains to be seen.
Overall, in his nine-season career, Victorino is a career .275 hitter, with a .341 on-base percentage, .430 slugging percentage, and 201 stolen bases (43 times caught, an 82.3 percent success rate). He has primarily hit in the second spot in the order over his career, batting .287.351.436 in 2,143 plate appearances. After that, he has seen the most plate appearances, 971, leading off, batting .251.320.411. However, hes had his best production from the sixth spot, going .307.362.500 in 352 plate appearances (fourth-most).
In his career , Victorino has hit .267.33.402 as a left-handed batter against right-handed pitchers, and .301.373.508 as a right-handed batter against lefties. In 2012, he dropped to just .229.296.333 against righties, while hitting .323.388.518 against lefties. In 2011, he hit .270.333.455 against right-handers, .308.424.608 against left-handers.
Hes had years where hes hit righties well, said general manager Ben Cherington. We feel confident that hes going to be a productive hitter from the left side. Were looking to add to the team. He doesnt have to hit home runs at Fenway from the left side. Were looking at his overall game and what he can do on defense and on the bases creating havoc in the lineup. Theres a lot of different things he can do besides hitting home runs.
While he had an injury to his right index finger in 2012, Victorino said that was not an issue.
Everybody wants to find that excuse, he said. I wish I had that excuse I could use. But no, early on I had a right index problem. But it didnt hamper me and it didnt hamper me at the plate And Im not the kind of player thats going to let that be a reason for why I struggled or why I didnt be the player that I can be Thats not an issue at all.
If I had an answer, Id put my finger on it the last two years, figure out why I didnt hit .280, .285, .290, .300. More importantly, I think its just about going out there next year.
The hand injury was something the Red Sox looked into before offering Victorino a three-year, 39 million deal. While it is difficult for the Sox to gauge how much the injury affected Victorino, they were confident it would not be an issue going forward.
The player knows that better than we do, Cherington said. You have to look into these things. The extent for which it affected him last year were confident based on our evaluation theres nothing standing in the way of him getting back to the form he established in Philly.
Victorino was the subject of trade speculation early in the season with the Phillies, which also could have affected him.
Id say 50-50, he said. Early in the season I wanted to get something done and stay in Philly and that was a little bit of my focus. Coming off a good year in 11 I kind of wanted to say to myself, Hey, this might be the time for me.But lets look beyond that. Im a Red Sock now. I think thats where Im looking at. Im not worried about what happened there I got three years here and Im very excited for the opportunity to be a Red Sock.
Last year I think everybody had it and speculation I was worried about staying in Philly and then focus on that, worrying about where I was going to be rather than just going out and playing the game. Yeah, for the most part it got to me because I love Philly so much. But at the end of the day, I look beyond that now Im looking forward to 2013.