Shane Victorino's injury-riddled season will end in predictable fashion: with the right fielder undergoing season-ending back surgery Tuesday.
One of the key players in Boston's 2013 turnaround, Victorino's absence has been felt all season long. Never truly healthy, Victorino has appeared in just 30 games for the Red Sox this season, hitting .268/.303/.382 in 133 plate appearances, contributing to a year of disappointment from Boston's outfield.
At this point, with focus squarely on 2015, it makes sense to shut Victorino down and hope that biting the bullet now will leave him ready to contribute again next year.
Victorino wasn't exactly the healthiest player in 2013, but one does have to wonder if he's not paying the price for playing through so much last year. It was a common sight to see him run down a fly ball at full speed, then limp his way back into position for the next at bat. We can't know quite what he was dealing with without getting into his head, but it probably stands as one of the gutsier performances in this team's history, especially given how long it went on for. That also helps put into perspective what he must be dealing with now, since Victorino is not one to miss time when he doesn't have to.
It's just another lost season in the greater lost season that is 2014 for the Red Sox. Hopefully Victorino and the team both rise again in 2015.