As the Red Sox’ season transforms from contention hopes into an evaluation period, they’ll get a chance to evaluate some more unknown quantities. While there’s now an open slot in the Red Sox’ new-look outfield, that spot comes at the expense of Shane Victorino, who is out for the year as he is set to undergo back surgery today.
This back surgery is just the final chapter in what has been a very frustrating season for Victorino. Injuries limited Victorino to just 30 games this season and, hampered by injuries even when healthy enough to play, he slashed only .268/.303/.382 with 2 home runs and 2 stolen bases. Coming after an outstanding 2013 season which established him as a fan favorite in Boston and a fixture in the lineup and outfield, his 2014 season came as an obvious disappointment and has been a major cog in the Red Sox’ failures this season.
To look on the bright side, however, the Red Sox do have that afore-mentioned space in the outfield. The Red Sox promoted Corey Brown to Boston last night but don’t expect him to see significant playing time. Victorino’s surgery opens a slot in left field which will likely go to newly-acquired Yoenis Cespedes while allowing Mookie Betts to get some MLB action as well with Allen Craig on the disabled list. Meanwhile, the team will continue to play Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field to see if he can figure himself out at the plate in an effort to determine if Bradley can contribute next season.
It’s always a shame to lose a player for the season but, in a low-pressure environment, it adds another opening to Boston’s late-season trial period. Hopefully some added rest will allow Victorino to fully recover for the beginning of the 2015 season and contribute on a contending team once again.