Red Sox Shane Victorino Flips Back To Switch-Hitting

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In Fort Myers, Florida, NESN‘s Ricky Doyle reported that Shane Victorino is no longer a one-trick pony anymore, at least for 2015.

Victorino took some swings on the left side of the plate, during batting practice, yesterday. The Boston Red Sox and their fans have not seen him make this attempt since late in the 2013 season, where he abandoned switch-hitting for a predominately right-handed approach. Now, it seems that the right-fielder will be going back to what made him successful in the past:

Victorino said, “It’s something I’ve been successful at and that I would like to go back to. The body feels good, and we’ll go from there. It’s a good thing to have in your back pocket, being able to switch-hit.” Especially with the American League East trying to reload their rosters through trades and free agent signings, who knows what pitchers may make the opposing starting rotations?

It would be helpful for the Red Sox to have someone who can adjust. At the moment, only Pablo Sandoval, catching prospect Blake Swihart, and Daniel Nava are declared switch-hitters on Boston’s 40-man roster. Swihart may be sent down to the minors again, and Nava is likely not going to start in the log-jammed outfield any time soon.

More from Red Sox History

If Victorino is as healthy as he says he is, then he should be successful at switch-hitting again. According to

FanGraphs.com

, Victorino has a career batting average of .303 against lefty pitchers when he hit as a righty, while hitting .266 against righty pitchers left-handed. Against right-handed pitching, Victorino hit .268 as a righty hitter. From these numbers alone, the Flyin’ Hawaiian must love pulling the ball that approaches him from the opposite angle, or at least gets a bead on it that way. His left-handed 52 home runs and 299 RBIs off of rightys, while doing some right-handed bashing of 47 home runs and 161 RBIs off of the lefty arms, are further proof of his prowess in that regard.

Much of 2014, for Victorino’s poor showing at the plate, had to do with injury. His .268 batting average produced two home runs and 12 RBIs in 123 at-bats. The Red Sox still had him as a threat against left-handed pitchers, as he hit .325; however, his .241 against righty pitching did not help the cause.

Some people may believe that his overall batting average is better from the right side, but that’s not going to help him stay in the lineup. The very talented, 22-year-old Mookie Betts hit .291 last season. Granted that it was a small sample size of 189 at-bats, Betts showed that he can play the outfield very well, and could fit into right field easily, with Rusney Castillo and Hanley Ramirez filling the other two positions.

Victorino’s 34-year-old body will have to do more than what he has accomplished, right-handed. He produces with his bat more on the left. His ability to get a base hit on the right is good, but the Red Sox have more people whom can do even better from the same side. Victorino will only stay as an impact player for Boston if he flips the switch and turns the lights out on pitchers, while keeping the younger players in the dark on the dugout bench.