After getting by without him for the first 22 games of the season, the Red Sox have activated outfielder Shane Victorino from the 15-day disabled list. He’s in the starting lineup for tonight’s series finale against the Yankees at Fenway Park.
Victorino has been sidelined since late in spring training with a Grade 1 strain of his right hamstring. His return was delayed due to a brief bout of the flu, but he made it through three minor league rehab games without incident.
Victorino will bat second tonight against CC Sabathia while Dustin Pedroia hits leadoff. Boston’s lineup has been in a state of flux early on this season, but Red Sox manager John Farrell told Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal this afternoon that he hopes to stick with this arrangement for the near future.
I’d like to think we’d take the current lineup and run with it for a while,” Boston manager John Farrell said. ”Hopefully with Pedey and Vic at the top of the order, the on-base will be there at a consistent rate. I think stability is what this team is in need of right now.”
Now that Daniel Nava is in the minors, the Red Sox will move ahead with a platoon of Grady Sizemore and Jonny Gomes in left field. Not surprisingly, Gomes is making the start tonight with Sabathia on the hill.
Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.
Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list
Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.
Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.
Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).
While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.