Although his stiff left hamstring continues to improve, outfielder Shane Victorino sat out Thursday night’s series opener against the Indians and remains day to day, according to manager John Farrell.
Victorino has been out since leaving Monday’s 6-4 win over the White Sox.
His play in the field this year has been both impressive and aggressive, to the point that his body has paid a price for it.
Lower-back stiffness forced Victorino to sit seven games at the end of April. After he crashed into the right-field fence at Fenway May 12 against the Blue Jays, he had his ribs examined at Massachusetts General Hospital but didn’t miss a game. He did miss two games, however, after colliding with the right-field wall in Tampa May 16.
With this latest ding, Farrell said he’s still weighing whether to place Victorino on the disabled list.
“As a general rule of thumb, as we get to that halfway point of the potential of putting Shane on the [disabled list], we’ll make a decision at that point, but we’re no closer today to making a roster move,’’ Farrell said
Before Thursday’s game, Victorino was on the field doing sprints and drills with head trainer Rick Jameyson and Dan Dyrek, the team’s coordinator of sports medicine service.
“As we continue to ramp up the physical work and the physical activity, the information that we get back and how he responds to that is certainly helpful as far as our decision-making going forward,’’ Farrell said.
After striking out looking in his first two at-bats Thursday, Will Middlebrooks left in the fourth inning with lower-back spasms.
Farrell said the injury wasn’t related to the bruised ribs Middlebrooks sustained in a collision with David Ross two weeks ago. It actually stemmed from a play Wednesday in Chicago, Farrell said, though Middlebrooks made no mention of it to him before the game.
“His back started to tighten up throughout the course of tonight’s game,” Farrell said. “In his last at-bat [Wednesday], I think he slipped coming out of the box a little bit, didn’t mention any complaint prior to the game tonight, but as things unfolded the stiffness was there and so he’s day to day right now.”
Eye on Portland
The 11 a.m. start time for Double A Portland Thursday gave Ross enough time to hop back to Boston and get examined by team doctors.
Ross went 1 for 3 in the Sea Dogs’ 8-4 win over New Hampshire. It was the first game of a likely short rehab stint. The catcher was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list May 12.
Farrell said Ross was “fine as far as any kind of activity on the field.”
“He’ll probably get examined [Friday] when he comes in and at that point we have the ability to make a roster decision,’’ Farrell said.
Franklin Morales, who’s been on the disabled list since March 31 with a lower back strain and also a pectoral injury, started for Portland and threw 77 pitches over five innings. He allowed just one run to earn the win.
“With him pitching today, he’s not available to pitch the next 4-5 days, minimum, so that’ll be taken into account over the next couple of days in our discussions of what potential moves we might make,” Farrell said.
As odd as it might have seemed to see David Ortiz break for third base Wednesday night against the White Sox — especially considering the 250-pounder had never swiped third before in his career — Farrell said that was the plan all along.
“It was a 3-and-2 count, and you put runners in motion,’’ Farrell said. “With his speed, he got it right and stole.’’
Ortiz was dumbstruck by the call, but he went with it and recorded the 12th stolen base of his career (and first since 2011).
Asked whether Ortiz now has the green light on the base paths, Farrell said, “I wouldn’t go that far. It’d have to be a big green light.’’
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.