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.
The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.
After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.
Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.
Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:
In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?