PHILADELPHIA --- Charlie Manuel kept Shane Victorino out of Friday's lineup for the series opener against the Rays in the hopes that a day off could help the struggling center fielder relax and clear his head.
Victorino, who had played in all 71 games thus far, owns a .252 batting average and a .319 on base percentage, both well below his career averages of .277 and .342. He also has eight home runs and 33 RBIs.
"I want him to relax," Manuel said. "There's a good chance he'll play [on Saturday] and everything. Right now I just kind of want him to see if he can clear his head a little bit. Sometimes an off-day's good for him."
Victorino will be a free agent at the end of the season, but he told the Delaware County Times that playing in a contract year is not affecting him.
"Charlie talked to me about [a day off on Thursday night], he said he might give me a break," Victorino said. "He said 'Shane, I'd like to give you a day off' and that was it. There's no apparent reason. I've played every game. And I'll be ready to go tonight if they need me defensively or pinch-hit, I'll be ready to go. It's just a day for me to get a day off, nothing more than that."
A switch-hitter, Victorino is batting .226 in 208 at-bats from the left side of the plate this season.
"The thing I see him doing, especially on the left side, his stride's real quick, he gets out in front and they take the sting out of his bat," Manuel said. "I don't particularly like sitting him, because when he's hitting good, he gives us a chance to win the game. He's played every day so far, but at the same time, the reason that we're resting him is because he's struggled a little bit from the left side."