Victorino (hamstring) unlikely to play in opener

Victorino (hamstring) unlikely to play in opener
March 30, 2014, 3:45 pm
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BALTIMORE -- While his 24 teammates head to Camden Yards Monday morning for the regular season opener, outfielder Shane Victorino will still be back in Boston, getting an examination on his strained right hamstring.
    
There will still be time to get Victorino to Baltimore in time for the 3 p.m. start time, but it's highly unlikely he plays in the opener.
    
The question seems to be: do the Sox play short-handed for a day or two, or is Victorino's hamstring serious enough to warrant a DL stint right out of the gate?
    
Victorino traveled with the Red Sox from Fort Myers to Baltimore Saturday night, then flew from Baltimore to Boston early Sunday afternoon. He was due to have an MRI performed Sunday, with another follow-up visit Monday morning.
    
"There's no roster decision, no, really, update to give you at this point,'' said John Farrell. "We don't have anything else to offer right now until we get that information from the exam.''
    
Victorino strained the hamstring in Boston's Grapefruit League finale Saturday in Fort Myers, and later vowed that he would play in the opener.
    
But the Sox don't want to rush him back and run the risk of the condition worsening in the first week of the season.
    
In all likelihood, if the Sox need to make a roster move with Victorino, the Sox will promote Jackie Bradley Jr. from Pawtucket to take Victorino's spot. Because Victorino played in a major league spring training game Saturday, he could only be backdated until Sunday, meaning he would miss the first two full weeks of the season.
    
(Another possibility would be Bryce Brentz, who would give the Sox another righthanded bat for the outfield, as well as an experienced right fielder. But the Sox have to be conscious of the fact that they need protection for Grady Sizemore in center field, and Brentz has little experience playing there, meaning Bradley -- who lost a spring competition to Sizemore -- is the most logical choice.)
    
Victorino's setback comes after the Red Sox purposefully brought him along slowly this spring, wanting to give extra time to strengthen his core. Victorino battled nagging injuries last season, missing time due to hamstring, groin and back issues.
    
Now, even before the season begins, Victorino is dinged up again.
    
"I don't know that you look at it as troubling,'' said Farrell. "You look at it as a situation that has to be managed. Even coming into this year, we figured there would be games or days where he would need a breather, much like other players.
    
"You respond to whatever's thrown your way and right now, we're questionable whether Shane's going to be available tomorrow or for the coming days. Whatever the number is of games played, that will play itself out. But if he's not available to us, we'll certainly miss him.''