By Jeff Louderback
Shane Victorino finished a seven day stretch that saw him receive American League Player of the Week honors in unusual fashion. The switch-hitter batted right-handed in all four plate appearances in which he reached base against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Victorino was hitless in four at-bats in Boston’s 2-0 loss at Houston on Monday, but last week he was 12-for-30 (.400) with two home runs, three doubles, six RBI and seven runs in seven games. The Red Sox were 5-2 in that stretch.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington took criticism when he signed Victorino to a three-year, $39 million deal last offseason. Yet the 32-year-old veteran who is in his 10th Major League season has served as a leader by example on a team rich with camaraderie. Victorino is batting .290 with seven home runs, 34 RBI and 14 stolen bases, and he has played Gold Glove caliber defense in right field.
Victorino, who earned a World Series ring with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008, provides the Red Sox with a valuable veteran presence on the field and in the dugout and the clubhouse. He plays the game the right way and exemplifies the character of this year’s team – something that the 2012 club sorely lacked.