Victorino gets final tune-up before the WBC

Victorino gets final tune-up before the WBC
March 2, 2013, 5:15 pm
Share This Post

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Right fielder Shane Victorino played Friday night against the Pirates at Jet Blue Park. And despite the quick turnaround of a day game after a night game, he wanted to play Saturday afternoon, when the Red Sox traveled a few miles west on Daniels Parkway to face the Twins.  It was his final tune-up before leaving Sunday to join Team USA in Arizona for the World Baseball Classic.
Victorino,  however, will be hitless in Grapefruit League play when he joins his US teammates. He went 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout Saturday. In five Grapefruit League games, he went 0-for-11 with two runs scored, four walks, three strikeouts, and a stolen base, grounding into four double plays.
He is confident, though, he will get in sufficient work in the WBC.
“Yeah, at this point, I definitely feel where I would be at any other time,” he said. “Just count on and hopefully I’m going to continue to do that and get my at-bats. I think that’s the important part that I'm focused on. The only thing that worries me is  not playing every day. But all that stuff will come with time, getting my work in the cage and BP and working extra.”
For Victorino, who was also a member of Team USA in 2009, the chance to represent his country and his home state is something he takes a great deal of pride in and a chance he didn’t want to  pass up. ‘The Flyin’ Hawaiian’ will wear No. 50, in honor of the 50th state to join the union. Victorino will be the team’s fourth outfielder and is confident his ability to play all three outfield positions will garner him sufficient playing time.
“It’s always tough to walk away,” he said. “You want to get your work in. But I [committed] to representing the USA and being part of the team is special to me. I’m going to focus on that. I’m going  to work on continuously what I’ve been working on  in the cage every day and take that into the game. Joe [Torre, Team USA manger,] promised us that we’ll get our at-bats, and I’m going off of that. And I think we’ll get our playing time. But being versatile and playing all outfield positions I think that’s going to help myself get at-bats when guys are going to need rest.”
Victorino went home from Friday night’s game and watched the WBC kick-off  as Chinese Taipei beat Australia.
“The whole tournament, you look at all the countries, it’s an international game,” he said. “It’s America’s past-time but watching all different countries paly it. As a kid I watched the Japanese teams come and train in Hawaii…it’s the game of baseball.
“Watching all these different countries, watching the pride of not only the players but that the fans have, too. And, of course you know who the target is always. USA Is always the target because they say USA baseball is the mecca. Everybody wants to play in the major leagues here. So having our major leaguers go, everybody wants to beat us and the target’s on our back. But I can’t say that because the last two times around we haven’t won. So Japan should have the target on their back. But USA is the team that everybody wants to beat.”