This past offseason, the Red Sox made a number of free agent signings of quality, veteran, clubhouse guys – one of those being 32-year-old right fielder Shane Victorino.
Victorino signed a three-year, $39 million contract with Boston the first week of December. Though he isn’t the flashiest player around, he does the little things well, and maybe most importantly for the Red Sox, he’s a veteran presence on a team which is looking to turn its image around.
The “Flyin’ Hawaiian” as he is called, is off to a hot start. Going into Thursday’s game, the 10-year veteran is hitting .313 with five RBIs through eight games. He hit safely in each of the first four games of the season, and had reached base in every game until going 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly Wednesday.
“I’m just going out there trying to be the best I can be,” Victorino said. “I am not trying to do anything different. I am trying to get off to the best start I can, and have fun doing it. Being part of this team, and adding to the chemistry, I think that has something to do with it.”
The right fielder isn’t known for his fast starts as he’s hit below .230 in two of his last three Aprils.
Joining a new team and playing at a new ballpark, there is an adjustment period expected, especially defensively. That was on display Wednesday night when he and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury had a miscommunication resulting in an error on Ellsbury and leading to an unearned run.
“Obviously some of the conditions, like the sun late in the [day] games, those are the things that are going to present itself and I have to work on it everyday,” he said. “I am not going to let those things deter me from being the best defending outfielder I can be.”
Victorino played eight seasons for the Phillies before being traded to the Dodgers in the middle of last season. Playing for as many teams as he has in the last year, Victorino knows what a good team is made of, and it seems the Red Sox may have turned the corner with a new attitude in place, which could lead to winning more ballgames.
“It is a fun group of guys with the same attitude and that is to win,” said Victorino. “We’ve gone out there with that kind of personality and we’re having fun doing it.”
Follow Metro Red Sox beat writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @Hannable84