BOSTON (CBS) – Shane Victorino was officially introduced by the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, and is excited to call Fenway Park his new home.
When Boston came calling, Victorino said he didn’t need to be convinced to sign the deal.
“The reason I chose the Red Sox over other organizations is the tradition, the history, the makeup of the team,” Victorino told reporters after donning a Red Sox jersey for the first time on Thursday.
“He fits perfectly into our short- and long-term plan,” said Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington. “He’s been an outstanding performer for a lot of years in a tough place to play. He’s been a big part of great teams. He’s a guy that can do a lot of things on the baseball field. He’s a great defender, great baserunner, great hitter from both sides of the plate and one of the highest-energy players in the game.”
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens Reports:
“The Flyin’ Hawaiian” will be roaming the Fenway outfield for the next three-years, likely starting in right field next season. He played center for the Phillies for nearly eight seasons — taking home three gold gloves for his stellar defense — but is more than willing to make the shift for his new team.
“I did the same thing when I went to LA. People talked about how I should have been the center fielder, but I wanted to help the team win,” he said of last August’s trade that sent him to the Dodgers. “I’m glad to call myself a Red Sox today and looking forward to playing right field or wherever John Farrell wants me to play; I’m more than ecstatic.”
Victorino On Playing Right Field:
With Victorino alongside Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox will tout one of the quickest outfields in the game. While he’s only visited Fenway Park a handful of times, it shouldn’t take him too long to learn the quirky dimensions that await him in right.
“I’m going to go out there and have fun. (I hope) I don’t wrap myself around that pole, but if I have to go get the ball I’ll go get it,” he joked.
A career .275 hitter, Victorino is coming off a 2012 season where he hit just .255 to go with a .321 OBP — the lowest he’s posted since becoming a full-time player. But Victorino isn’t stressing about the past, and focusing solely on the future.
“The game of baseball is the game of baseball. You can’t put your finger on it,” he said. “I didn’t have the year I wanted to, but I’m looking forward to 2013.”
That also goes for the Red Sox as a team.
“The last couple of years have definitely been tough for Boston, but at the end of the day we look beyond that now,” he said. “We look forward to 2013 and being the organization we can be.”
“This is one of those things we can turn around. We don’t want to be known as the team that couldn’t make the playoffs,” he added. “I plan on being there this October and beyond.”
In addition to his defense, Victorino will bring more speed to the base paths. The 32-year-old set a career high with 39 stolen bases in 2012, his fourth season with least at least 30 steals. He’s also led the majors in triples twice in the last four years, with 13 in 2009 and 16 in 2011.
Victorino will wear number-18 for Boston, last worn by starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzka.