Manuel gives Victorino day off to clear head

Manuel gives Victorino day off to clear head

Manuel gives Victorino day off to clear head
PHILADELPHIA -- Shane Victorino seemed to get to the Phillies clubhouse a little later than normal Sunday morning at Citizens Bank Park.

Victorino, who typically is one of the first players to the ballpark, seemed down. He changed out of his T-shirt, but otherwise remained in street clothes as he quietly walked through the clubhouse, eventually packing his red Phillies travel bag for the team's trip to Colorado and Los Angeles after the All-Star break.

It seemed unusual behavior for the team's most talkative and energetic player.

Maybe an hour later, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel posted his lineup. Victorino was hitting seventh. But about an hour before the game, Manuel replaced Victorino in the lineup with center fielder Jason Pridie, who went 2-for-3 with a double, home run and three RBIs in a 4-3 loss to the Braves.

"When I talked to him, he was kind of hurting today and he was down," Manuel said. "He was down because of his performance. I decided to go with Pridie. I just scratched him and gave him a day off.

"I saw [Victorino] in the clubhouse, sitting beside his locker. I walked up and started talking to him. He was down, talking about his hitting, especially from the left side, things like that. He was down. He's got a lot on his mind, I guess."

Victorino is hitting .245 with 13 doubles, two triples, eight homers and 37 RBIs in 86 games this season. He is hitting 31 points below his career batting average, 30 points below his career on-base percentage and 63 points below his career slugging percentage.

That could explain a lot. Victorino is eligible to become a free agent after the season, and he could be traded before the end of the month. He is seeking a five-year contract from the Phillies, but they are almost certainly not going to go anywhere near that long.

Victorino was not available to comment after the game, but Manuel said speculation about Victorino being upset that he was hitting seventh -- a spot in which he had hit 31 times in his career -- was not true.

"That's the first thing I asked him," Manuel said. "He said absolutely not."