Boston Red Sox place Shane Victorino on the disabled list


The Boston Red Sox placed outfielder Shane Victorino on the 15-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain prior to Saturday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles and recalled right-handed pitcher Matt Barnes to take his place on the roster.

This will be Victorino’s fifth trip to the DL since his arrival in Boston in 2013 and the third time that his hamstring has been the culprit. The 34-year old was injured on Wednesday when he stole a base against the Tampa Bay Rays.

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Last year was essentially a lost season for Victorino, as he played in only 30 games due to hamstring issues and a back injury that ultimately required surgery that sidelined him for the rest of the season. He entered spring training declaring himself healthy and earned the starting right field spot back in the Red Sox crowded outfield, but lasted only 12 games before being put on the shelf.

Victorino is hitting only .143 in 35 at-bats this season. Given his history, his nagging hamstring seems more of a concern than his struggles at the plate, but the team doesn’t seem to be too worried about him. After initially calling him day-to-day, the decision to place him on the DL may be precautionary as much as it is an opportunity to bolster their overworked bullpen.

"“I wouldn’t say he’s stalled. Actually he’s improving,” manager John Farrell told reporters before Saturday’s game. “He worked out [Saturday] earlier this morning and ran in the pool. But we felt like with the number of innings our bullpen was pitching, that was the overriding thing at this point.”"

The Red Sox bullpen has thrown 63.1 innings already this season, which is second most in the American League. Through the first 17 games of the season, Red Sox starters have recorded at least one out in the 7th inning or later only three times. Barnes had been working out of the rotation for Triple-A Pawtucket, but will be utilized as a reliever in Boston to ease some of the burden on the weary bullpen.

Barnes allowed five runs on eight hits in 8.0 innings of work over two starts with the PawSox this season, but the Red Sox were impressed by how the 24-year old looked in shorter stints in spring training.

"“Power stuff,” said Farrell. “Looking forward to him being available to us.”"

Barnes had been considered for a bullpen role heading into the season, but was sent to Pawtucket to be stretched out as a starter instead. Farrell alluded to concerns about repeatedly switching his role, but also feels that Barnes can help this team right now. He could be used as a long reliever in multiple-inning stints.

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The Red Sox are going with Allen Craig in right field Saturday night. He has yet to put last year’s miserable season behind him, but if the Red Sox give him more consistent at-bats while Victorino is sidelined it may give him the chance to finally start clicking at the plate. Daniel Nava will likely see time in right field as well and it gives Boston another way to fit the hot hitting Brock Holt in the lineup.

It’s always troubling when one of your regular starters goes down with an injury, but if the Red Sox had to lose anyone for an extended period then at least it was an outfielder, where the team has plenty of depth.