On Thursday, Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino fired back at a pair of radio personalities at 98.5 The SportsHub, Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti, who interpreted his desire to trade for Phillies starter Cole Hamels as a desire to push out Mookie Betts or Rusney Castillo — competitors for his starting job. Massarotti, or “Mazz”, said, “What a loser. ‘Get rid of the kid before he takes my job.’ That’s how it comes off.”
Victorino responded passionately. Per Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, Victorino said, “If there’s one person that’s an advocate of that individual who was named in the article, Mookie Betts, it’s me.” He continued, “I don’t have any fear or feel like there’s competition that I’ve got to get him shipped out of here. That’s the part for me, where individuals put words in your mouth, that sit behind a mic and say something, you know where I’ll be. I’ll be more than happy to talk to you about it. But don’t get behind a mic and be a coward and try to put words in my mouth, because not once in that article did I mention anybody’s name.”
Felger and Mazz responded with a column on CBS Boston. Describing a phone conversation Mazz had with Victorino, he said, ” It was like having a discussion with my wife when she’s angry. It was that sort of discussion, if you want to know the truth.”
Felger said of Victorino’s response, “He’s backtracking.” Mazz disagreed. “I don’t know that he’s backtracking. I think he realizes he said too much.”
To be continued?
Victorino, 34, is slated to be the starting right fielder for the Red Sox, but his poor showing in spring could change that. Entering play Sunday, he was 5-for-25 with one extra-base hit, a double. Victorino is again giving up switch-hitting, as he did last season, due to thumb and hamstring injuries. He finished the 2014 season with a .268/.303/.382 triple-slash line along with two home runs and 12 RBI in only 133 plate appearances.