BOSTON -- Shane Victorino has made it clear he doesn’t plan on changing his playing style anytime soon. Running into walls, in other words, will remain part of his repertoire.
His hat size, however, that’s a change he’s already had to make. The two are not unrelated.
Victorino had to make an equipment adjustment after colliding with the bullpen wall in right field Tuesday night while trying to track down a fly ball off the bat of the Colorado Rockies’ Jonathan Herrera. He was charged with an error on the play, and took a blow to the head from one of the bolts that holds up an advertising sign.
“I couldn’t wear my hat comfortably,” Victorino said. “I actually went up a size because every time I put on a hat I was like ‘Ah, my head hurts.’ It was like somebody hit me.”
Victorino already was sporting the bigger cap during Wednesday’s 5-3 win over the Rockies, one in which he had three hits -- a double and two singles -- and scored two runs.
When healthy, Victorino has played well, especially this month, one in which he has posted a .328/.369/.475/.845 slash line. But back and hamstring injuries have limited him to 47 starts in the team’s first 80 games, and Tuesday’s collision marked the second of its kind in a three-day span. Sunday in Detroit, Victorino was forced to exit with a lower-back injury incurred from running into the wall while catching a foul ball off the bat of Torii Hunter.
“Another wall, another day,” manager John Farrell said after Tuesday’s collision. “It seems like he’s finding a wall on a daily basis.”
Maybe it hasn’t been daily, but Farrell has a point. The first time Victorino got personal with a wall this year was back in spring training, where the stats may not count but the bruises sure do. Playing center field, the Red Sox outfielder hit the wall after robbing the Phillies’ Ryan Howard of an extra-base hit.
On May 12 in Fenway, Victorino was hospitalized after going full force into the bullpen wall on a home run off the bat of Toronto’s Emilio Bonifacio. Although he returned to the lineup after the collision, he was placed on the disabled list less than two weeks later with hamstring issues.
And now two more wall slams this week.
“It’s the way he plays,” Farrell said. “I can’t tell him not to play as hard as he does.”
“We’re never going to ask a player to be someone who he’s not. And we ask him to be smart about it, but we know that instincts and characteristics are going to kick in.”
Kyle Brasseur is an intern at ESPNBoston.com