8/30/2013 7:02 P.M. ET
Victorino will eventually return to switch-hitting
By Jason Mastrodonato / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Shane Victorino hasn't abandoned switch-hitting altogether. He has simply abandoned it for the time being, and the end date is open-ended.
Victorino originally started hitting exclusively right-handed in mid-August because he felt his left hamstring wasn't giving him enough stability to hit effectively from the left side. But since it's been working so well -- he's hit .306 with a .393 OBP and .923 OPS in 56 plate appearances as a right-handed batter against right-handed pitching -- why not continue it?
"Why mess with success at this point?" Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
There's been a consistency developed in Victorino's swing since he ditched the left-handed at-bats, and his power has really come alive. Since the All-Star break, Victorino has as many home runs (eight) as Pedro Alvarez, Mike Trout and Justin Upton. Only 13 Major Leaguers have more.
"He's hitting from such a stronger base on the right-handed side of the plate," Farrell said.
So much so that Farrell was actually against Victorino trying to lay a sacrifice bunt down with Jacoby Ellsbury on first base late in Thursday's 3-2 loss to the Orioles.
"He attempted to bunt on his own last night," Farrell said. "He's been our hottest hitter. [I] didn't want to take the bat out of his hand. And yet he's got a lot of knowledge of the game and is going to react accordingly inside it.
"The right-handed side, it's been interesting. The game against Arizona that he asked, 'Hey, if there's nobody on base, how about me hitting right-handed, right on right?' 'Have at it.' He hasn't looked back since."
Victorino dodged questions Wednesday about the severity of his hamstring injury.
"How much am I playing hurt? Ha. That's for me to know and you not to know," said Victorino, who added that he would eventually return to switch-hitting.
"I'm still working to try to get back to the left side. People may differ, but I'm still a switch-hitter. That's what I was brought here to do. Like I said, I take it one game at a time, continue to work and see how I feel."
The lack of familiarity for opposing right-handed pitchers, who have very little video of Victorino in right-on-right situations, may also be playing a role in his current success. Farrell said that could wear off with time.
"Initially, right-handers, when he stepped into the box right-handed, I'm not going to say you saw a different expression on the face, but it's something they haven't seen," Farrell said. "As evident by the number of hit-by-pitches from right-handed pitchers. He's been hit [six] times in a short period of time. But like anything, I'm sure the book will get out."
Shoulder better, Carp available off bench
BOSTON -- Mike Carp, who was a late scratch from Thursdays' 3-2 loss to the Orioles because of left shoulder stiffness, said he was feeling much better on Friday and would be available off the bench.
Carp said he simply slept on it wrong Wednesday night, tried to get through batting practice before Thursday's game and didn't feel right.
"I just didn't feel like myself and didn't feel like I'd give the team a good chance with the four at-bats I was going to get," he said.
Considering how hard Carp has worked to get himself in the lineup as often as possible, he'd have to be feeling pretty awful to take himself out.
"It's tough," Carp said, "but that's part of the game. You're not going to be able to go out there every day and be healthy. Thankfully it was only one day, not like last year where I missed a lot of time."
Carp's left-handed bat has been particularly useful this season. He had the go-ahead hit off the bench in Wednesday's 4-3 win over the Orioles, and he's posted a career-high .913 OPS over 196 plate appearances.
• David Ortiz entered Friday's game in an 0-for-22 slump. His longest streak of hitless at-bats as a member of the Red Sox is 23 in 2011, and the longest during his career is 27, a streak that spanned three seasons from 1998-2000.
"Again I think it's more timing, and when he's getting ready to execute his swing," said Farrell. "Right now, at times, he's been a little late."
• With the White Sox in town, Farrell took a moment to reflect on pitching coach Juan Nieves, who spent five seasons as the bullpen coach in Chicago.
"I think he epitomizes what a coach is," Farrell said. "He's there countless hours for every guy that is in need."
• Alex Wilson, who has been on the disabled list with a sprained right thumb and hasn't pitched since Aug. 8, was scheduled to make a one-inning rehab appearance with Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday. Farrell said Wilson could rejoin the team at some point in September, but noted, "We have to take this in gradual steps here."
• The 12th annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon raised more than $3.3 million in the 36-hour broadcast spanning Tuesday and Wednesday, raising its 12-year total to more than $34 million in donations for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
• Friday was Ted Williams' birthday. Born in San Diego, Williams had 17 All-Star seasons and holds the all-time MLB record for career on-base percentage (.482).