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Friday, August 8, 2014
Confident Victorino visits clubhouse

By Gordon Edes

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Three days after back surgery, how good was Shane Victorino feeling Friday?

Good enough to show up at Angel Stadium wearing a backpack when he ducked into the clubhouse to say hello to his teammates, coaches and manager John Farrell.

And good enough to declare that despite all he has been hearing about Yoenis Cespedes playing right field, he has no plans to surrender the position in 2015.

“I have every intention of being the right fielder next year,” said Victorino, who qualified that remark by saying he’d play wherever he was asked.

Victorino said he expects to be ready for spring training after undergoing a lumbar discectomy Tuesday in Los Angeles, Dr. Robert Watkins removing inner material from two herniated discs, one on either side of his back. One of the discs, Victorino said, was pressing on a nerve, causing shooting pain down his back, buttocks and legs.

Those shooting pains, Victorino said, are now gone. “I feel good, real good,’’ he said.

For the next month, Victorino said, he must refrain from any activity that involves bending, twisting, or lifting. Even when he goes to bed at night, he complained with a smile, he has to “sit like a log.” For now, he said, he plans to do a lot of walking.

The projected recovery time for his surgery is generally four to six months. Victorino said he will strive to be on the short end of that estimate.

“I plan to be ready to go, full speed, even before spring training,’’ he said.

This has been a lost season for Victorino, who played in just 30 games and went on the disabled list three times this season, the last time when the Sox shut him down on Aug. 1 (retroactive to July 31) after he’d played just nine games after completing a rehab assignment.

Victorino said previous MRIs had indicated a worsening of his back condition, but he tried to play through it for as long as he could. He acknowledged that Boston’s place in the standings was a factor in going ahead with the surgery now.

Victorino turns 34 on Nov. 30, and he will be entering the last year of the three-year, $39 million contract he signed as a free agent before the 2013 season. Asked if he thought he could approach his past performance, which included winning a Gold Glove in his first season of playing right field for the Sox, hitting 15 home runs and stealing 21 bases, Victorino said:
“Very confident. Beyond confident. This was one of those surgeries I needed to have.

“But I have every intention of being the player I am.’’

Victorino said he may return to his Las Vegas home during his recovery. But he’d told Farrell he planned to pop in here for a visit.

“Pineapple,’’ catcher David Ross said, embracing him while Clay Buchholz came from behind and rubbed his head. “You look normal. That’s a shock.’’