Shane Victorino undergoes thumb surgery

Jim Rogash

The Red Sox outfielder had one of his many 2013 injuries fixed.

Shane Victorino tried to avoid the disabled list as much as possible in 2013, and it led to him playing through multiple injuries. He was productive anyway, though, and now has the off-season to rest and recover before 2014's season begins. The first step on this path was nerve release surgery on Victorino's thumb, which he re-injured in mid-September while already wearing a protective guard for it.

Nerve release surgery is used when there is a compression issue, where connective tissues become too tight and begin to squeeze on nerves -- Victorino apparently jammed his thumb hard enough that this occurred. It is likely Victorino feels better already, but it could take a little bit of time for the injury to fully heal itself. He's expected to be ready to go by spring training, though.

The Red Sox will need Victorino healthy for 2014, as center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury has departed to the Yankees as a free agent, leaving Victorino and Jackie Bradley Jr. as the only two major-league-caliber players capable of handling center field for the start of the season. While Victorino is the right fielder, he's the backup in center on a roster that has Daniel Nava, Jonny Gomes, and Mike Carp as the other available outfielders.

Despite myriad injuries in 2013, Victorino batted .294/.351/.451 with 43 extra-base hits, 21 steals in 24 attempts, and Gold Glove defense in right. With Ellsbury gone, he's the team's best bet for a stolen base, and one of its most effective baserunners. Luckily, Bradley Jr.'s glove is supposed to be fantastic, so Victorino won't need to up his defensive game to compensate for the lack of Jacoby in center.

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