Victorino making impact for Sox in field

Victorino making impact for Sox in field
May 17, 2013, 12:45 am
Share This Post

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - If there was an unsung hero in the Red Sox' comeback win over the Tampa Bay Rays Thursday, it was right fielder Shane Victorino.
      
Victorino had one of the just four Red Sox hits -- a double in the fourth -- and scored their first run, but it was in the outfield where he really contributed.
      
In the eighth inning, he went crashing into the right field wall at Tropicana Field, but hung on to a flyball by Jose Labaton, taking extra-bases away to open the inning.
      
An out later, Victorino raced back and made an over-the-shoulder catch on a ball hit by Desmond Jennings, one that was also seemingly going to go for extra-bases.
      
With the Sox already trailing 3-1, they couldn't afford to fall behind more. So Victorino's sterling defense made sure they didn't.
      
"I don't think we can underestimate what he's done for us," said John Farrell. "He's cut some runners down, he's kept some people to singles when they could be sure doubles in other situations. He's done an outstanding job.
      
"On the ball he caught over his head, his instincs are so good. That's a righthander that's going to (have his ball) kind of tail toward the line and he makes the absolute right turn and he's in the right spot. His routes and reads are spot on."
      
Farrell knew that Victorino, a natural center fielder, could impact the team with his glove in right. But the outfielder's play has outstripped even the manager's high expectations.
      
"Not seeing him every day," said Farrell, "it's been better than personally anticipated."
      
The first catch didn't come without some ramifications. Victorino came out of the game in the bottom of the ninth, having hurt his back in the collision.
      
He had ice wrapped around the area in the clubhouse, but Farrell was hopeful that the back -- which forced him to miss a handful of games late last month -- wasn't seriously injured.