- Jerry Crasnick, ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer
- 0 Shares
BOSTON -- Turns out Shane Victorino's return to switch-hitting was a temporary fling.
The Boston Red Sox right fielder surprised American League Championship Series observers when he settled in the batter's box from the left side of the plate against Anibal Sanchez in the first inning of the Red Sox's 4-3 Game 5 victory over the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on Thursday.
It marked the first time that Victorino, a career switch-hitter, batted from the left side since Sept. 3.
After going 0-for-3 and failing to get the ball out of the infield in three at-bats against Sanchez, Victorino swung around to the right side and struck out swinging against right-handed relievers Jose Veras and Al Alburquerque.
He stranded four runners on the evening and is hitting .095 (2-for-21) in the series.
Victorino said he decided to bat left-handed after discussing the idea with Boston manager John Farrell before Game 5. Victorino faced Sanchez routinely when they were playing in the National League East -- Victorino with Philadelphia and Sanchez with Miami -- and is a career .233 hitter (10-for-43) against Sanchez during the regular season.
"I thought I'd give it a try, but it wasn't what I expected,'' Victorino said. "It just wasn't there. I saw the ball well, but I just wasn't comfortable with the swing and the whole approach. I felt as if I was trying to rush to get to everything. It's hard to change, especially since I hadn't done it for two months.''
Victorino gave up switch-hitting in early August after a hamstring injury hindered his ability to bat from the left side. Before the cameo against Sanchez, his last appearance as a lefty came against Max Scherzer six weeks ago at Fenway Park.
Scherzer will face the Red Sox in Game 6 on Saturday night, but Victorino has no plans to return to switch-hitting -- at least for the rest of this season.
"I'm not saying it's any better from the right side, but I'm going to focus on that and ride it out and stay that way,'' Victorino said. "I don't care if Babe Ruth is on the mound pitching.''
Shane Victorino’s return to switch-hitting turned out to be just a temporary fling for the Boston Red Sox.