Victorino makes spring debut

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) – Boston Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino played in a game for the first time in this year’s spring training on Monday, going 0-for-1 with a strikeout and also scoring a run after being hit by a pitch during a 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Victorino, the only Maui-born All-Star in major league history, had been held out of exhibition games after missing time with hamstring and back issues last season, and undergoing surgery on his thumb in December.

“The fact that he’s on the field and he’s back in the flow of things, and we’ll build out his progression, is a definite positive,” said Boston manager John Farrell.

Victorino, who has been a switch hitter, batted only from the right side Monday. Last week, the 33-year-old said batting right-handed only – which he did at times last season while recovering from injury – had been “discussed.”

On Monday, when asked about batting right-handed, Victorino was quoted by Major League Baseball’s website as saying: “Next. You guys just keep asking that question, don’t you? What did you see today? Next (question). I don’t know. There’s no decision that’s made. There’s no decision. If I had an answer, I would have told you guys.”

Victorino had a .294 batting average last season, with 15 home runs, 61 RBIs and 21 stolen bases, and won his fourth Gold Glove.

“I felt great,” Victorino was quoted as saying Monday on “It’s nice to be back out there with the guys. It was a good runaround. Get a ball on defense, run the bases. And obviously being back out on the field. That’s what it’s all about. This is what you prepare for. I’ve been itchy and antsy to get out there.”