Shane Victorino to begin rehab assignment Saturday

Shane Victorino nears his return to the Red Sox.
Shane Victorino nears his return to the Red Sox. (USATSI)

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Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino will head out on his minor-league rehab assignment Saturday, likely with Triple-A Pawtucket, the Red Sox told reporters (Scott Lauber) Thursday. Rehab assignments are permitted to last up to 30 days, but the club has told reporters that Victorino might return to the Red Sox next Thursday.

Victorino has been on the disabled list since the beginning of the 2014 season with a hamstring strain. He also missed time in spring training with a ribcage issue. Still, he must not be far from game-ready if the club believes he'll be ready to return after just 3-5 games in the minors.

Victorino, 33, hit .294/.351/.451 (118 OPS+) with 26 doubles, 15 homers, 61 RBI, 82 runs and 21 steals last season for the Red Sox. He won a Gold Glove and even got some MVP consideration (finishing 22nd) as Boston went on to win the World Series.

In Victorino's absence, the Red Sox have been using a combination of Daniel Nava, Jackie Bradley and Jonny Gomes in right. Now that Jacoby Ellsbury is gone, expect Victorino to eventually settle as the leadoff man.

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