Victorino fondly recalls his playing days in Philly
Dubbed 'Flyin' Pineapple' by Pedroia, he doesn't rule out return to Phillies
PHILADELPHIA - When the Phillies traded Shane Victorino last July, he was known as the "Flyin' Hawaiian."
As Victorino returned to Citizens Bank Park as a member of an opposing team Wednesday, the Red Sox outfielder disclosed he had a different moniker.
"My new nickname is the 'Flyin' Pineapple' or just 'Pineapple' in general," said the Wailuku, Hawaii, native, who thanked Boston teammate Dustin Pedroia for the label. "It's a little change of pace for me."
Victorino is out with a hamstring injury, but said it was refreshing to return to the city where he spent the majority of his career.
"How can I not miss it?" Victorino said of being in Philadelphia. "Spending a good part of my career here, giving me the opportunity to become the player that I am. I certainly miss it, but I'm [on the] Red Sox now, I'm focused on that."
A career .275 hitter, Victorino was with the Phillies from 2005 until he was dealt to the Dodgers 10 months ago. In his tenure with the Phils, Victorino was a two-time All-Star as well as a Gold Glove Award winner and was a key part of the 2008 World Series title team.
The Phillies spent Monday and Tuesday in Boston, so Victorino already had a chance to reconnect with some of his former teammates. What he did not get to do until Wednesday, however, was interact with the Phillies faithful at Citizens Bank Park.
There were fans in Victorino jerseys -- both Red Sox and Phillies -- to watch batting practice and while his current and former teammates warmed up, Victorino took the time to interact with fans. He noted that he had the Red Sox's short visit in Philadelphia highlighted on his schedule for a long time.
"I get to be here, I get to address the fans, show them the appreciation that I have for me being a player here," Victorino said. "Hopefully I get to tip my cap to them and give them a little thank you."
Victorino, who never hit lower than .260 in any season for the Phillies, was a fan favorite in Philadelphia, and it disappointed many Philly fans when he was traded last season. The 32-year-old said he understood the move, and that baseball is a business.
And though he said he is keeping his concentration on the team that will be in the third-base dugout Wednesday, Victorino did not rule out a return to Philadelphia before the end of his career.
"This place will always have a special place in my heart. I'll never forget this place," Victorino said. "How knows? When it's all said and done, maybe I will come back and get that opportunity, but right now I'm focused on winning a World Series in Boston."
In the middle of the fourth inning Wednesday, the Phillies played a video tribute, featuring clips of what Victorino did on and off the field for the club. The video was capped off by a highlight of him hitting a grand slam off CC Sabathia in Game 2 of the 2008 National League Division Series.
Upon the video's conclusion, Victorino climbed out of the Red Sox dugout and was greeted with a standing ovation as he waved to the crowd and tipped his cap.
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.