Shane Victorino has overcome some discomfort in his side in recent days, but Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports that he tweaked his right hamstring during today’s Grapefruit League game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI tomorrow.
Victorino was adamant this afternoon that he expects to be “fine” and “ready to go” for Opening Day despite the late issue, but Red Sox manager John Farrell acknowledged that he’s thinking about a contingency plan. Jackie Bradley, Jr., who was demoted to Triple-A this week after Grady Sizemore’s surprising resurgence, would return to the big club if a trip to the disabled list is in the cards for Victorino.
Victorino, who is also coming back from offseason thumb surgery, hit .294/.351/.451 with 15 home runs, 61 RBI, and 21 stolen bases in 122 games last season. He is entering the second year of a three-year, $39 million contract.
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.