March 21, 2013

Victorino prepared for reunion

Shane Victorino will meet former teammates still with a franchise he never planned to leave.

The Philadelphia Inquirer

FORT MYERS, Fla. - In Shane Victorino's perfect world, he'd be spending Thursday going through a workout with the other core members of the Phillies while a team of mostly reserves makes the long bus ride to meet the Boston Red Sox.

That would mean he was still a member of the Phillies, the team with which he so badly wanted to finish his career. It would also mean the Phils wanted him as badly, which was not the case.

So instead, Victorino will be in the Red Sox lineup Thursday night. For the first time since 2003 and only the second time in his career, he will face the Phillies as an opponent. Victorino was with San Diego in 2003.

"It's going to be different for me after spending all those years there," Victorino said Wednesday. "It's always going to be a special place to me. Looking across and seeing Charlie (Manuel), who was my manager from day one and gave me the opportunity to be the player I am I think it's going to be fun to be play against those guys."

Victorino, 32, may not be living in his perfect world but he has no complaints. After being dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers by General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. at the trade deadline last season, Victorino hit the free-agent market and signed a three-year, $39 million deal with Boston that has given him the peace of mind that was sorely lacking at the start of last season. He will play mostly right field for the Red Sox, who like the Phillies are trying to bounce back from an abysmal 2012 season.

Last month, former Phillies hitting instructor Greg Gross said Victorino allowed stalled spring-training contract negotiations to consume his thinking early last season when the Phillies were already missing Ryan Howard and Chase Utley because of injuries.

Victorino confirmed that was the case. He hit .228 in April and spent the rest of the season trying to dig out of a hole.

"I think there was a lot on my plate last year," Victorino said. "The contract situation, we talked about it early on in camp and we never really got the ball rolling. I let it get to me."


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