ST. LOUIS — Right fielder Shane Victorino had surgery on two bulging disks in his lower back in Los Angeles Tuesday and will miss the remainder of the season.
Dr. Robert Watkins performed the operation. The Red Sox said Victorino should ready for spring training. The average recovery time for a lumbar discectomy is 4-6 months.
Victorino, who turns 34 in November, has played only 30 games this season because of hamstring and back ailments. He started the season on the disabled list and played only limited stints since, twice returning to the DL.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said it’s unclear how long Victorino has had the disk issue, and to what degree that led to the hamstring strains that have bothered him for the better part of the last two seasons.
“Low back and hamstrings are all going to be interrelated,” Farrell said.
Victorino reinjured his back during a game against the Blue Jays July 30 at Fenway Park. Victorino hit .268 this season with two home runs, 12 RBIs, and two stolen bases.
Victorino is signed for $13 million next season.
Victorino was one of the team’s best players last season, hitting . 294 with an .801 OPS and winning a Gold Glove for his stellar play in right field. He then drove in 12 runs in 14 postseason games.
Led by Victorino, Red Sox right fielders produced a .786 OPS last season. Through Sunday, Sox right fielders had a .673 OPS.
Craig off to DL
Allen Craig lasted one game with the Red Sox before he went on the disabled list. The outfielder has what the team is describing as a sprained left foot.
Craig was injured in eighth inning on Friday when he lunged to first base trying to beat a double play.
“I knew I did something but I’m not too worried about it,” he said.
Craig twice referred to the injury as “a little tweak” but there is a concern it could be something more. Craig finished last season with a torn Lisfranc ligament in that foot and this season has hit .237, a sharp drop from his previous career average of .306. His OPS has dropped by 100 points.
“That’s a difficult question to answer,” said Craig when asked whether the injury contributed to his lack of production. “I’ve never used the injury as an excuse. I can honestly say that I felt good and healthy this year. It’s a combination of a lot of things. I don’t know if it’s my place to really nail it down and put my finger on it. Baseball’s a tough game and I’ve been pretty good for most of my career. I’ve struggled a little bit this year and I’m accountable for that.”
The Red Sox plan to have Craig examined by Dr. Robert Anderson, a North Carolina-based foot specialist.
“We’re still in the process of finding out as much information with Allen as we can on the foot,” Farrell said. “We just want to be clear and get as much information to determine if there’s no correlation to the previous injury. We’re still in a fact-finding stage.”
Said Craig: “I just got [to the Red Sox]. Obviously I want to get out there and they want me to be out there. Now’s a good period to just evaluate things.”
The Red Sox replaced Craig on the roster by purchasing the contract of outfielder Corey Brown from Triple A Pawtucket.
Brown was a supplemental first-round draft pick by Oakland in 2007 but has played only 36 games in the majors, all with the Nationals from 2011-13.
Brown was hitting .226 with 16 homers and 39 RBIs over 83 games in Pawtucket.
Hembree is here
Heath Hembree, one of the prospects acquired from the Giants for Jake Peavy July 26, joined the team. He appeared in two games for Pawtucket before his promotion.
“It’s really exciting,” Hembree said. “The trade was a little bit of a surprise. I’m thankful for the opportunity right now.”
Hembree started the season ranked among the top prospects in the Giants system. He appeared in nine major league games last season, throwing 7⅔ scoreless innings and striking out 12 with two walks.
Hembree had 64 saves over parts of three Triple A seasons with the Giants but also a 4.21 ERA in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
“It’s a mentally tough league. Every outing you have to be locked in,” Hembree said. “You can’t take any outing for granted. It’s tough, it’ll humble you in a minute.”
The Red Sox optioned righthander Steven Wright to Pawtucket. He was active for Sunday’s game in case a long reliever was needed.
When the Red Sox acquired Craig and Joe Kelly from the Cardinals for John Lackey, they became the first World Series teams to trade players who appeared in the Series the following season since 1988, when the Minnesota Twins sent Tom Brunansky to the Cardinals for Tommy Herr . . . The Red Sox had 48 players appear in at least one game last season. Only 22 remain in the organization as of Tuesday . . . Farrell celebrated his 52d birthday on Monday . . . David Ortiz started at first base for the third time this season in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss and was 0 for 4. Farrell said the plan is for Mike Napoli to play first Wednesday . . . Xander Bogaerts was 0 for 3 with a sacrifice and is 1 for 15 since being moved back to shortstop . . . Dustin Pedroia (1 for 4) is 11 of his last 26, improving his average from .272 to .281 . . . The Red Sox are on pace to score 621 runs after scoring 853 last season.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com.