Shane Victorino has hit exclusively from the right side for the past six weeks, so it was a bit of a surprise to see him bat left-handed against Anibal Sanchez in Game 5 of the ALCS on Thursday night. However, after going 0-for-3 against Sanchez, he flipped back to the right side against relievers Jose Veras and Al Alburquerque. And from what he told Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, he’s not planning to change things up as the postseason continues.
“I thought I’d give it a try, but it wasn’t what I expected,” Victorino said. “It just wasn’t there. I saw the ball well, but I just wasn’t comfortable with the swing and the whole approach. I felt as if I was trying to rush to get to everything. It’s hard to change, especially since I hadn’t done it for two months.”
Victorino originally abandoned hitting left-handed following a hamstring injury in early August. Prior to Thursday’s game, his last at-bat from the left side was on September 3. The 32-year-old is hitting just .229 (8-for-35) with one extra-base hit and 12 strikeouts this postseason, so the urge to try something different is understandable, but it’s a little late for experimenting. Hey, at least he continues to have a knack for getting hit by pitches.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.