BOSTON -- As a result of “increased symptoms” across his back, Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino’s rehab assignment will be pushed back at least one day, according to manager John Farrell.
Victorino will not return to the team before the All-Star break.
Shut down since June 24 after hurting his lower back in a game for Triple-A Pawtucket, Victorino was expected to restart his rehab assignment on Wednesday with Single-A Lowell. Farrell said that even before Tuesday’s symptoms, the team wasn’t expecting Victorino back until after the All-Star break.
“There’s a tentative plan in place that had him up to five consecutive days of games played and that was going to include a progression of the typical two to three at-bats all the way to the full nine innings,” Farrell said. “We’re still following that guide.”
Playing in only 21 games at the major-league level this season, Victorino has been unable to make the same impact as he did last year, when he hit .294 with 15 home runs and 21 stolen bases. Farrell said that in the midst of the team’s offensive struggles Victorino’s absence has left a notable void.
“He’s been missed,” Farrell said. “His energy, his defense, what he’s done at the plate for us. His vacancy has left a hole in our lineup. And that’s not to be critical of anyone else who has played in the outfield, that’s to say Shane Victorino was a heck of a player for us last year. And we miss that player.”
As a group, Red Sox outfielders have put together a lowly .232/.305/.330 slash line with only 12 home runs this season.
In an effort to generate offense at any position a night after being shut out by White Sox rookie Scott Carroll and two relievers, Farrell opted to play the matchups when forming his lineup for Tuesday’s game against White Sox left-hander John Danks.
Right-handed hitters Jonny Gomes and Mookie Betts will start in left and center, respectively, while Xander Bogaerts (3-for-3 in his career against Danks) moves from ninth to sixth in the order and David Ross starts at catcher instead of A.J. Pierzynski. Ross, catching Brandon Workman as a starter for the first time this season, is 2-for-3 lifetime against Danks.
“[We’re] trying to create as many positive matchups as possible to generate some offense,” Farrell said.
With lefties Chris Sale and Jose Quintana lined up to face the Red Sox on Wednesday and Thursday, Farrell said that he will continue to rotate players and get everybody at-bats. Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. will return to the lineup Wednesday night, along with Brock Holt being expected to make his first start of the season at shortstop to spell Stephen Drew.
Here’s how the full lineup will come together Tuesday night against Danks:
1. Brock Holt, RF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Mike Napoli, 1B
5. Jonny Gomes, LF
6. Xander Bogaerts, 3B
7. David Ross, C
8. Stephen Drew, SS
9. Mookie Betts, CF