NEW YORK — Shane Victorino was feisty as he spoke to reporters prior to the Red Sox’ 4-2 victory over the Yankees Friday night, giving his opinion on pitchers using pine tar and a few other topics.
Victorino was bobbing and weaving like a boxer as he spoke and was increasingly animated.
Count that as a sign the right fielder is getting closer to coming off the disabled list.
Victorino took batting practice before the game and did some running to test his right hamstring, which was strained on the final day of spring training. It was his first time taking BP on the field since the injury.
“I’m taking it one day at a time,” Victorino said. “I ran pretty well today.”
Victorino also is getting stronger after losing 10 pounds thanks to a nasty case of the flu. He will travel with the team to Chicago on Monday and hopes to start a minor league rehabilitation assignment late next week.
“I need to get my timing back. Might need two or three games, get some baseball activity under my belt and be ready to go right after,” Victorino said.
“I want to get back out there. That’s all I know.”
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks, on the DL with a strained right calf, also took batting practice and then did some defensive drills.
“I’m not ready to run yet but I felt good swinging the bat,” Middlebrooks said. “I’m getting there.”
Manager John Farrell said it was a day of “solid progress” for both players.
“Optimistically, once we get towards the end of the Chicago series we’ll get a better read on the potential for a rehab assignment,” he said.
Grady Sizemore was back in left field Friday night, his second consecutive day at a position he had not played since 2003 in the minors.
“There are a few things different about it,” he said. “You have to play the line and the wall. You see the ball differently than you do in center. It’s a different angle. But I can play out there fine.”
When he signed with the Red Sox, Sizemore told team officials he was amenable to playing left or right field, so Farrell’s decision was no surprise.
“I told them I would do whatever they wanted and I would be ready no matter what,” Sizemore said. “I’ve worked on it when I would and tried to make sure I’m prepared.”
Farrell was satisfied with what he saw Thursday, even though Sizemore had to make only one play.
“He’s more than willing to do what we ask for an alignment. He does shag BP in left field to get some reads on balls that going to have a different trajectory to them. It’s one game but he’s a darned good athlete and we have no trouble putting him in left field.”
Farrell said the Red Sox would want to have Sizemore practice playing the wall a bit before the started him in left field at Fenway Park.
Just like old times
John Lackey, who is enjoying a career renaissance, will start the third game of the series Saturday for the Red Sox.
Counting the postseason, Lackey threw 215⅓ innings for the Red Sox last season after missing the entire 2012 season following Tommy John elbow surgery. He was 10-13 but had a 3.52 ERA. Lackey then had a 2.77 ERA over five postseason games.
Lackey is 2-0 with a 1.38 earned run average in two starts this season. Over 13 innings, he has allowed eight hits with three walks and 11 strikeouts.
“The one thing that he has done more than we anticipated was maintaining his stuff over 200-plus innings a year ago,” Farrell said. “He went through a very good offseason and he’s picked up where he left off.”
Lackey will face Hiroki Kuroda, who was 1-4 with a 4.88 ERA in six starts against the Red Sox last season.
MLB Players Association director Tony Clark issued a call for commissioner Bud Selig to investigate anonymous comments regarding the value of free agents Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales.
“I am angered that numerous anonymous baseball executives have blatantly and intentionally violated our collective bargaining agreement by offering to ESPN comments about the free agent values of Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales,” Clark said. “These statements undermine the free agent rights of the players and depress their market value.”
MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred answered back a few hours later.
“Over the years, I have learned that it is a waste of time to pay attention to anonymous quotes which may or may not be genuine,” he said.
“Given that the regular season is well under way, it is hard to imagine that anonymous comments would have any effect whatsoever on the market for any individual player.”
Drew and Morales, clients of agent Scott Boras, turned down $14.1 qualifying offers from the Red Sox and Mariners, respectively, and remain unsigned five months later.
Rings for two
Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington met with Jacoby Ellsbury and Matt Thornton before the game in the Legends Club behind home plate to present them with their World Series rings. Both players signed with the Yankees as free agents after the Series . . . Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and Yankees righthander Dellin Betances will participate in a youth clinic at Macombs Dam Park across the street from Yankee Stadium on Sunday as part of Jackie Robinson Day festivities, which will be next week . . . Farrell has been following the progress of 21-year-old lefthander Henry Owens, who has thrown 12⅔ shutout innings and struck out 18 for Double A Portland in two starts. For now, the Red Sox plan to keep Owens in the Eastern League, in part because of the crowded rotation at Triple A Pawtucket . . . Friday was a big day for birthdays. Former Red Sox Jason Varitek turned 42 and Trot Nixon 40. Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira turned 34.