EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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July 28, 2013

Victorino's health is vital for Sox the rest of the season

Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino entered yesterday batting .283 and he has played exceptional defense this season. He is enjoying his new club, Boston, with many teammates who, like him, are outgoing. And the Red Sox are in the midst of a heated pennant race.

But there’s one problem: Victorino entered yesterday having missed 34 games so far and has been dealing with a recurring hamstring injury.

He had never missed more than 31 games in any season before this year. And there still are 57 games remaining.

So how does Victorino feel about his season so far?

“I would say it’s more frustrating for me from a physical standpoint,” Victorino told The Eagle-Tribune. “But I don’t dwell on those kinds of things. You try to make the best of the moment and make the best of what’s going on. The most important thing is where the team is at. Individually, yeah, you’d like to go out there and do things and be a part of that.

“But sometimes injuries happen,” Victorino added. “That, I think for me, has been the frustrating part. But the big picture is where we are (as a team).”

Victorino staying healthy and on the field the rest of this season is crucial for three main reasons:

1. The Red Sox have struggled against left-handed pitchers so far and Victorino, a switch hitter, is a career .298 hitter with a .369 on-base percentage, .497 slugging percentage and .866 OPS when batting right-handed against lefty hurlers.

2. Boston struggled offensively this past week, being mowed down by Tampa’s two aces David Price and Matt Moore as well as Baltimore’s Chris Tillman. Jose Iglesias has struggled lately, batting just .208 in his first 72 at-bats in July. Stephen Drew has struggled all year. Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s production is dropping.

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