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Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Updated: October 30, 9:54 AM ET
Shane Victorino expected back

By Tony Lee
Special to ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino is expected to return to the starting lineup for Game 6 of the World Series on Wednesday night.

Boston manager John Farrell said Victorino, who has missed two games due to a back strain, was available in Game 5 for defensive purposes and as a pinch hitter. Farrell never used him, giving the battle-tested Victorino three full days to recuperate before Wednesday's contest.

"We fully expect him to be full go tomorrow," Farrell said Tuesday afternoon prior to his team's final workout of the year.

As Victorino slides back into his customary No. 2 spot in the batting order, Jonny Gomes will start in left field and David Ross will be behind the plate for the third straight game as the Red Sox face St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha, Farrell said.

Ross had two hits, including a go-ahead RBI double, in the team's 3-1 win in Game 5 on Monday. Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been relegated to backup duty after going 0-for-6 with four strikeouts in Games 2 and 3 while factoring into some notable defensive miscues by the Red Sox, including the now-famous obstruction call that ended Game 3.

"First of all, David has given us a spark offensively out of the position," Farrell said. "And that's not to be disrespectful of Salty in any way. We've had to try to jump-start a couple of different positions from an offensive standpoint. And at the same time, David has done a great job with running the game from a game-calling perspective. And so that's the thrust of him being back behind the plate tomorrow."

Mike Napoli will return to first base and David Ortiz to designated hitter. And with the left side of the infield stabilized by the play of Xander Bogaerts and the stellar defensive efforts of shortstop Stephen Drew, the Boston lineup for Game 6 is all but set in stone.

As for those on the mound, John Lackey will start Game 6 for Boston and should have a stable of available relievers behind him, including left-hander Felix Doubront, who looked dominant at times during 4 2/3 solid innings of relief between Game 3 and Game 4 in St. Louis.

If not utilized in Game 6, Doubront could be an option to start a do-or-die seventh game if needed; Jake Peavy has been hit hard in successive postseason outings.

Clay Buchholz, the Game 4 starter, has told Farrell that he would be available in a pinch in either of the last two games of the series. Jon Lester, who tossed another gem in Game 5, could be a looming presence if the Series reaches Game 7.

"I'll get with Jon here today as he goes through his workout to find out where he is physically," Farrell said.

Game 6 is scheduled for 8:07 p.m. ET Wednesday. Boston has a chance to clinch a World Series at home for the first time since 1918.

Tony Lee is a contributor to ESPNBoston.com.