Shane Victorino has been activated from the 15-day disabled list and will bat sixth and play right field in his return tonight against the Royals. The Red Sox have optioned Mookie Betts back to Triple-A Pawtucket in a corresponding roster move.
Victorino hasn’t played in the majors since he aggravated a right hamstring strain on May 23. The 33-year-old had multiple setbacks during his rehab, including an issue with his back, but he played three games with Class A Lowell prior to the All-Star break and back-to-back games with Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday and Friday. Limited to just 21 games this season, Victorino is batting just .242/.276/.352 with one home run, 10 RBI, and two stolen bases.
Betts is the odd-man out now that Victorino is healthy. The 21-year-old batted .235 (8-for-34) with one home run and two doubles in his first taste of the majors and is better off playing everyday in Triple-A for now. He doesn’t figure to be down in the minors for long, especially if the Red Sox move players like Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Update (7:00 PM ET): The MLBPA announces that the deadline has been extended 24 hours while MLB and NPB continue to negotiate a new agreement for the posting system. The new deadline is 8 PM ET on Tuesday.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.