Victorino expected to return for Game 2

BOSTON -- Shane Victorino is expected to be taken off the disabled list between games today and thrust into the starting lineup in center field for the second game of the day-night doubleheader against the Angels.

Victorino, on the DL because of a hamstring issue, played well enough in a brief rehab assignment with Pawtucket to justify bringing him back to the active roster. Boston manager John Farrell said Victorino’s timing at the plate was solid and that he had looked good running the bases, clearing him for the return to active duty with the Red Sox.

Factoring into the decision to activate Victorino is Jacoby Ellsbury’s health issue and the fact the Angels will be starting a left-handed pitcher (C.J. Wilson) in the night game.

Ellsbury, the Sox center fielder, has been in an out of the lineup over the last week because of a groin problem, so, as Farrell said, the team needs to “manage” his health. Ellsbury bats left-handed, so Farrell will opt to have the switch-hitting Victorino in the lineup against Wilson.

This will be Victorino’s second start of the season in center. He has been the starting right fielder. He is batting .283 with two homers, 10 RBI and four stolen bases.

To make room for Victorino the Sox are likely to return outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to Pawtucket.

In other Sox news, third baseman Will Middlebrooks (lower back) is continuing his rehab with the PawSox in Syracuse. Farrell, though, said Middlebrooks has been making solid progress.

Farrell also expressed pride in having had his son, Luke, drafted in the sixth round by the Kansas City Royals. Luke Farrell starred for Northwestern this year as a senior. Luke suffered through two benign neck tumors in his time at Northwestern.

Farrell seemed fine with the Royals, and not the Red Sox, drafting his third son to sign a professional baseball contract, giving Luke an opportunity to forge his own path in the profession.

“We’re proud of him,” said Farrell.