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Victorino comes off DL looking to spark Sox

Outfielder hoping hamstring issues are over as club eyes second-half run

Victorino comes off DL looking to spark Sox play video for Victorino comes off DL looking to spark Sox

BOSTON -- Shane Victorino returned to the mix for the Red Sox on Saturday night, hoping that comeback 2.0 will be more successful than the abbreviated 21-game stint he had earlier this season.

To get back into contention for a postseason berth, the Red Sox will need Victorino's bat, glove and energy. He was a key component in the club's ride to the World Series championship in 2013.

Victorino, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list, batted .294 with an .801 OPS to go along with 26 doubles, 15 home runs and 61 RBIs. According to FanGraphs, he saved 23 defensive runs as an outfielder last season, fifth-most in the Majors.

In 21 games entering Saturday, Victorino had posted a .242/.276/.352 line. He went 1-for-3 with a single in his first at-bat in Boston's 2-1 win.

Victorino, who has been out since May 24, cautions people not to look at him as a savior. He batted sixth in his return.

"I'm not the guy. I'm not the answer. I'm not the guy that's going to carry the load," Victorino said. "I'm going to try to be as good as I can be to help this team win."

Both of Victorino's stints on the disabled list have been due to right hamstring woes, though his back prolonged his comeback this time.

"You know, this is what it's all about," Victorino said. "You work hard, you've got to do what you've got to do to get back as soon as you can. Unfortunately there were some setbacks. I'm here. I'm at this point. I worked hard to get back to where I'm at. I'm just going to continue to work hard and try to be the best player I can be, to go out there and do what I can to help make this team better."

To make room for Victorino on the roster, the Red Sox optioned Mookie Betts to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Brock Holt, who had been getting most of his playing time in right field during Victorino's absence, started at short against Royals lefty Danny Duffy on Saturday.

Holt can play all over the diamond and manager John Farrell estimates he will rove around enough to get about six starts a week.

Farrell will monitor Victorino's playing time at the outset and do his best to keep the right fielder healthy.

"We'll look at matchups where they're the best," Farrell said. "We're going up to Toronto with the Astroturf to contend with. We'll monitor that as he comes out of each game. I think it's probably going to be somewhere five times a week at least initially to build in some rest as well."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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