WASHINGTON — Shane Victorino, one of the heroes of the 2013 World Series champion Red Sox, officially announced his retirement from baseball Monday while in his native Hawaii.
The news had an impact on Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts.
“He had the kind of career a lot of people would want,” Betts said Tuesday before the Red Sox beat the Nationals, 11-4. “Shane had a great influence on me.”
Betts first got to know Victorino in 2014 when hey were both with Triple A Pawtucket. Victorino was there on a rehabilitation assignment.
“We had some good talks at that time,” Betts said. “We still do. He’s been there and done everything I want to do.”
Victorino had an .801 OPS in 122 games for the 2013 Sox then drove in 12 runs in 14 playoff games. He also won a Gold Glove in right field .
His seventh-inning grand slam in Game 6 of the ALCS against the Tigers shook Fenway Park and sent the Sox to the Series. Victorino followed that with a three-run double in Game 6 against the Cardinals.
For many fans, the image of Victorino standing at third base pounding his chest after his shot off the wall will never be forgotten.
The Sox went on a clinching 6-1 victory.
Victorino’s at-bat song, “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley, became popular with fans as the postseason went on and they sang along to the lyrics when he came to the plate.
Injuries limited Victorino to 30 games in 2014.
In 2015, Betts and Victorino competed for playing time in spring training.
“With him, it never seemed like competition,” Betts said. “He was like my big brother. He was always teaching me and showing me things. Anything he could do to help, he did.
“He just wanted to win. We all knew what kind of player he was and what he was capable of. You need people like that around. I still text him now to talk about certain things. He’s a great person to have in your corner.”
Victorino was traded to the Angels on July 27, 2015. He broke down crying when the deal was made. His last game came with the Angels that October.
Victorino, now 37, plans to officially retire Aug. 3 in Philadelphia, where he played eight seasons and won a World Series in 2008. Betts hopes the Sox will recognize him at Fenway Park at some point.
“For sure. I’ve love to see him,” Betts said. “He had a great career. Everywhere he played, he won. That’s the sign of a champion.”
The Red Sox will activate righthanded reliever Tyler Thornburg from the disabled list Wednesday. It will be his first time on the active roster since the end of the 2016 season when he was with Milwaukee.
Thornburg was traded to the Red Sox that offseason but has yet to pitch because of a shoulder injury that required surgery last spring.
He appeared in 18 minor league games over two months before the Sox decided he was ready.
“It’s one of those things where sometimes it felt like it was never going to get here and other times it felt like it was right around the corner,” Thornburg said. “I feel like I’ve waiting long enough.”
It’s uncertain how often Thornburg will be able to pitch. Manager Alex Cora said the plan would be to use him cautiously at first.
Rookie righthander William Cuevas was optioned back to Pawtucket after throwing two innings and allowing one run Tuesday.
Eduardo Rodriguez, who starts the 11:05 a.m. game in Wednesday, has allowed nine earned runs on 14 hits over 10 innings in his last two starts.
After starting the season 9-1 with a 3.59 earned run average, Rodriguez has taken a step back.
“Pitch mix, we’ve been talking about it,” Cora said. “He has one of the best changeups in the league and he has stayed away from it in the last two starts. He has to use it; he has to use it.”
Ultimately, the pitcher decides what pitch he wants to throw. But it’s also on catcher Christian Vazquez to guide Rodriguez in the right direction. Vazquez has caught every inning Rodriguez has thrown this year and is set to start Wednesday.
“He was very successful using his fastball. But hitters will make adjustments,” Cora said. “We do feel that the more he throws his changeup, the better he’s going to be.”
None of the Nationals players on the active roster have faced Rodriguez, which should help make the changeup more effective.
The Nationals have played at 11 a.m. on Independence Day since 2012.
The idea is to give fans a chance to attend the game before the city gets clogged with traffic for the fireworks at night.
It’s the same reason the Red Sox play at 11:05 a.m. on Patriots Day.
The good news is that Drew Pomeranz felt fine physically when he pitched for Triple A Pawtucket on Monday night. But he continued to pitch poorly.
The lefthander rejoined the major league team after allowing five runs on four home runs over 2 ⅔ innings against Rochester.
Pomeranz’s next step hasn’t been determined. But he clearly needs more time in the minors as far as Cora is concerned.
“Personally I feel that he needs to go down there and show that he’s healthy and straighten out his mechanics,” the manager said. “I think that’s very important. We’ll talk about it.”
Pomeranz was 1-3 with a 6.81 ERA in eight starts before going on the disabled list with what the Sox said was biceps tendinitis.
All eyes on them
The Sox have played before nine consecutive sellouts . . . The Nationals have lost four straight, 9 of 11, and 16 of their last 21. At 42-42, they stand as one of baseball’s biggest disappointments . . . Sox pitchers have allowed 15 home runs in the last five games . . . Many of the Sox players were paying rapt attention to the Colombia-England World Cup match before their game. That Colombia lost on penalty kicks was crushing for catcher Sandy Leon. Although a native of Venezuela, Leon roots for Colombia because his wife, Liliana, is from there. “Very disappointed,” Leon said. “But they played well.”