Red Sox notebook

Season-ending back surgery a possibility for Shane Victorino

Shane Victorino wouldn't get into specifics about his back, but surgery is a possibility. Chris O'Meara/Associated Press
Chris O’Meara/Associated Press
Shane Victorino wouldn't get into specifics about his back, but surgery is a possibility.

Season-ending surgery is a possibility for Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino after he underwent an MRI on his lower back Saturday.

The 33-year-old right fielder will travel to Los Angeles early this week to meet with spine surgeon Dr. Robert Watkins for a second opinion.

“To go get another opinion from Dr. Watkins and see what he has is important to me, I think, to get that next view of things,” Victorino said before Saturday’s 6-4 loss to the Yankees at Fenway Park. “We kind of have an idea of what’s going to happen, but I hope that it’s not going to be as serious. I’m hoping.”


Victorino was pulled in the fifth inning of the Red Sox’ loss to the Blue Jays Wednesday when manager John Farrell noticed a significant change in Victorino’s gait while he was playing the field. Victorino was placed on the disabled list Friday.

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Victorino, who also went on the DL May 24 and missed 49 games with hamstring and back issues, said he could feel something wrong but was trying to play through it.

“The other night, when I felt it, I felt that it was something that woke me up a little bit,” Victorino said. “It was kind of sharp and sudden when it happened, and obviously found out why by what the MRI revealed.”

“Being out there and not being able to go and having those things hamper me, I knew something was wrong. I don’t mind playing through pain. I don’t mind playing through an injury, but the continuation of it happening was a thing that was worrisome to me.”

Victorino shied away from directly discussing the results of the MRI.


“It wasn’t the news that we wanted; some of the things that were shown were a little more than what we had hoped for — or at least I had hoped for,” Victorino said. “But I’ll see.”

In nine games since coming off the DL July 19, Victorino was hitting .344 with a home run, two RBIs, and four runs.

Farrell was cautious with Victorino’s playing time, giving him three off days in the past two weeks.

“For me, it’s never good, but hey, it’s all a part of it,” Victorino said. “I tried to play through it, tried to do the best I can, training staff did the best we could to try to get me back out there, but things were showing that there might be some things that we didn’t want to see. But we’ll go from there.”

Dealing with it

Once they realized they had been traded for each other, Kelly Johnson and Stephen Drew immediately hit each other up via text message.


They were friends from their days with the Diamondbacks.

They were planning on getting ready for a three-game Sox-Yankees series, and suddenly the trade meant they’d be swapping sides, Johnson joining the Sox and Drew the Yankees.

“That was bizarre,” Johnson said. “I ended up going over to his place, seeing his wife and kids. My family’s in town, too. Just couldn’t believe it. Just looked at each other like, ‘What just happened?’ ”

When he looked around Drew’s home, he figured he might as well go all-in on the deal.

“Might just make a clean trade: Places, numbers, everything,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s still getting his bearings in the Sox clubhouse, but the 32-year-old third baseman/outfielder expects to be ready to play by Thursday when the Sox wrap up their series with the Cardinals in St. Louis.

The groin injury that landed him on the DL July 23 feels fine, he said, and the plan is to play at least one rehab game before joining the Sox on their road trip.

“I’m good,” Johnson said. “I’m eligible to come off on Thursday and the plan is for that to be the case, so I’ll go and play a couple games and start to test it out a little bit and run and get on base and get on the field again. So everything’s good right now.”

Johnson was hitting .219 with six homers and 22 RBIs before the trade. Farrell envisions Johnson filling the role left behind by Mike Carp, who was designated for assignment on Friday.

“He’ll be that pinch-hit, lefthanded hitter that’s got the ability to play third and left field,” Farrell said. “That’s where we view him in that role.”

While Johnson has some familiarity with the Sox staff, having played for Farrell in Toronto for two seasons, some things, he said, will take some getting used to.

“Just bizarre to happen to be here also and just kind of walk across the field, so to speak,” he said. “I’m still staying in the Yankees’ team hotel, so it’s funny to be on the same floor with pretty much the whole team but then walk out and I’m over here [in the Red Sox clubhouse].”

Caught napping

Drew got caught napping in the seventh inning, possibly losing track of the count during Francisco Cervelli’s at-bat and assuming that Cervelli’s swing on a 2-and-1 slider was strike three.

Drew started casually strolling off the field, and by the time he realized it was only the second strike, Vazquez had already fired the ball to Dustin Pedroia, who tagged Drew out as he was trying to scramble back to the bag.

“Looking back, I’m really too far off and got myself a little too far off out there,” Drew said. “If my hand would have came back, he didn’t have me, they missed the tag it’s just my hand came off. It’s just unfortunate.”

Manager Joe Girardi tried to explain Drew’s confusion.

“My guess is that he thought one of the pitches that was called a ball was a strike and he thought it was two strikes,” Girardi said. “And you see a guy swing with two strikes and two outs, you’re taught to go and that’s probably what happened.”

Ross hurting

David Ross ruptured the plantar fascia in his right foot, but it could actually end up being a good thing for the 37-year-old catcher, who’s been playing through it since the Tampa series last week. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday after coming up limping running out a ground ball in the sixth inning of the Sox’ win over the Yankees Friday night. “Everything points towards that tendon having let go last night, which in this case is a positive,” Farrell said. “How many days it takes to recover, we’ll see. But the 15 days should hopefully help this quiet down to the point of him returning.” . . . The starting rotation is lined up for the St. Louis series. Rubby De La Rosa will pitch Tuesday, Joe Kelly will make his Sox debut on Wednesday, and Brandon Workman will start the series finale Thursday . . . An 0-for-4 night with three strikeouts left Jackie Bradley Jr. in an 0-for-20, 10-whiff slump over the past week. For most of July, he seemed to be figuring things out at the plate, hitting .339 (20 of 59) in the first 18 games of the month.

Julian Benbow can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @julianbenbow.