ALLENTOWN – If there was any question about the health of Shane Victorino it was answered in the first inning of last night's 6-0 Lehigh Valley loss to the Buffalo Bison.
The Phillies outfielder who is recovering from a strained left abdominal muscle, had singled with one out to delight of the 10,000 fans at Coca-Cola Park. John Mayberry then followed with a chopper to short to set up a taylor-made double play.
Victorino's slide into second toppled Bison second baseman Justin Turner who completed the double play. Victorino bounced up from the hard slide and completed his five inning assignment with out incident.
"Sliding into second there was no hesitation. I wanted to try to break up the double play," Victorino said
The injury occurred while Victorino was diving back to first base in the sixth inning of a 9-5 victory over Arizona at Citizens Bank Park. He was hitting .250 with 15 home runs and 53 RBIs along with a league-leading eight triples and is eligible to come off the 15-day DL.
After flying deep to left field in his second at-bat, Victorino was pulled after five innings as a part of a rehab plan. The plan will continue tonight as Victorino is expected to play seven innings as the IronPigs face the Pawtucket Paw Sox. He will then play a full game on Thursday.
"I felt great," Victorino said. "I felt good swinging the bat from the right side. The timing is a little off but everything else felt good, running felt good, that is all that matters to me."
After meeting with reporters, the man who may send Domonic Brown back to Lehigh Valley went into the batting cages for a few more swings.
"I just want to keep going," Victorino added. "I don't want to overdo myself but yet I feel good so I am going to take some extra swings."
In centerfield, the "Flying Hawaiian" got plenty of work with IronPig pitching that gave up eleven hits in the dismal shutout loss. Still, there is one thing left to do.
"I honestly want to try and dive back. Diving back is where I got hurt," Victorino said. "I could go out there and dive back to first but that's not going to do anything for me. I want to do it in a game situation."
"It's going in the right direction. We've got two more to go and hopefully I'll be back soon."
The IronPigs only managed two hits off winning pitcher Pat Misch and four hits total, all singles. Losing pitcher Andrew Carpenter got rocked early and settled in, giving up four runs on seven hits in six innings. The positive for Carpenter is the one walk he surrendered while registering seven strikeouts.
Tonight, Ty Taubenheim (0-2, 7.15) just recalled from Reading, will face Pawtucket's Kris Johnson. The Paw Sox will feature 38-year old veteran Carlos Delgado who was signed by the Red Sox over the weekend after losing Kevin Youkilis for the season.