Shane Victorino stepped out of the on-deck circle to his walk-up tune of “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley as the Hadlock Field crowd applauded.

Victorino watched two balls and then three strikes go by. In two later at-bats, Victorino grounded into a forceout and flied out to left field. He played six innings in right field but saw no action.

“I felt fine,” said Victorino, the Boston Red Sox right fielder, after the first game of a rehab assignment with the Portland Sea Dogs.

Victorino, 34, is on the disabled list because of a strained right hamstring. He plans to play another game Saturday with the Sea Dogs and could rejoin the Red Sox in Oakland on Monday.

The skeptical among Boston fans may wonder how much his return will matter.

Expectations for Victorino are tempered, based on his age and injury history. He spent three stints on the disabled list last year, playing only 30 games. He has appeared in 12 games this season.

“I can’t help the team on the DL,” Victorino said.

Boston can be a tough market, but there is no ill will toward Victorino despite his three-year, $39 million contract. In the eyes of many, Victorino helped deliver a World Series title in 2013.

Everything else is gravy. Think about closer Keith Foulke’s three-year, $20 million deal before the 2004 season. He played a big role for the 2004 World Series champions and was ineffective after that (5.10 ERA over the next two years). He is still regarded in high esteem.

In 2013, Victorino played 122 games, missing time because of various ailments. In the postseason, he collected the game-winning RBI in the clinching game of every series. In Game 6 of the World Series, Victorino doubled home three runs for a 3-0 lead in the third inning. He added an RBI single in the fourth in the 6-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

A clutch hitter, Victorino also won his fourth Gold Glove for his play in right field.

Since then … he hasn’t done much to contribute to the Red Sox.

His 2014 season ended with back surgery on Aug. 5. That operation had the Red Sox wondering if Victorino would return. Boston reinforced its outfield – promoting Mookie Betts, trading for Allen Craig and signing free agents Hanley Ramirez and Rusney Castillo.

But Victorino came to spring training ready, with maybe something to prove.

“I’m still extra motivated,” Victorino said. But “sometimes being motivated … you want to push things.”

While running the bases against Tampa Bay on April 22, Victorino’s nagging hamstring tightened. He eventually landed on the DL again.

“Something that came out of nowhere. Very disappointing for me,” Victorino said. “A bump in the road. Been there before.”

But Victorino sounds like someone who doesn’t want to go back there.

“There is going to be a transition for me to understand, when I get back it’s about staying out there, and being smart about it,” said Victorino.

Victorino has always been a positive presence. The Red Sox could use some hope while fans moan about their last-place team.

“It’s early,” he said. “Being in this market, people start hitting that (panic) button. It’s May. I understand … part of playing in a great market like Boston.

“We started off well and hit a little snag. But we have 162 games.

“It’s always frustrating and hard when you’re not out there. All you can do is hope that when you get back, everything goes in the right direction.”

Maybe there’s still some spark left in Victorino, and everything will be all right.