Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino has been placed on the 15-day disabled list prior to Monday's Opening Day game, with Boston recalling outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. from Triple-A Pawtucket to take his place on the roster. It's not the injuries that had Victorino missing Grapefruit League games that shelved him, however: the hamstring he injured on Saturday is the culprit.
Red Sox manager John Farrell says Victorino is dealing with a Grade 1 hamstring strain. If you're going to pull a hammy, that's the level you want, as it's the most mild of the three. Victorino is likely unable to run at full speed, but is just as likely to be able to walk normally. That doesn't mean he'll be ready to go once his 15 days on the disabled list are up, however, as it can take more than a couple of weeks to heal.
The Sox had been using Victorino in minor-league games instead of big-league ones towards the end of the spring, in case they needed to backdate a disabled list stint for him. He was healthy enough to play on Saturday, though, and ended up hurting his hamstring in that contest. After an MRI on his hamstring, the Sox decided to play it safe and pop him on the disabled list, allowing the recently optioned Jackie Bradley Jr. to join the Sox in Baltimore for the opening series against the Orioles.
The Red Sox will likely use Bradley in right field in order to improve the outfield defense during his time with the team. The Opening Day lineup features Mike Carp in left and Daniel Nava in right, with the pair flanking Grady Sizemore in center. Nava is a decent enough left fielder, but he's an emergency option in right, and Carp is a first baseman with an outfielder's glove. It's their top offensive alignment against right-handed pitchers with Victorino out, but defensively... well, let's hope Grady Sizemore is feeling range-y on those days.
Expect to see Victorino placed on the disabled list like this with more regularity than in 2013, should he deal with the same kinds of continual aches and pains. With Bradley around and no other real center fielder on the roster, the Sox can't be using the Carp-Sizemore-Nava alignment too often, or it will cost them when hits start dropping in: Bradley is their way to avoid that, and with a little luck, maybe he'll get the opportunity to show he's got something to offer at the plate, too.
The Sox won't have to wait for Bradley to arrive in Baltimore, as he traveled with the team for precautionary reasons.