08/04/09 9:06 PM ET
Victorino receives Final Vote trophy
All-Star makes first start since bruising knee Thursday
By David Gurian-Peck / MLB.com
Before returning to the starting lineup after a four-game hiatus, Victorino was handed the 2009 All-Star Game Sprint Final Vote trophy, recognizing the impressive on-field and publicity campaigns that netted him a spot on the National League squad.
The 28-year-old Phillies center fielder, who suffered a bruised left knee while making a diving catch Thursday against the D-backs, is hitting .315 with a .382 on-base percentage, eight homers, 48 RBIs, 27 doubles and 17 stolen bases. He won the 2008 Gold Glove Award and has made just one error this season.
Those numbers and some aggressive campaigning -- he knocked on doors with Mayor Michael Nutter, appeared on local and national TV and radio, and benefited from a friendly wager between Governors Ed Rendell (D-Pa.) and Linda Lingle (R-Hawaii), among other promotions -- enabled him to beat out Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval in the Final Vote competition on MLB.com for the last spot on the NL roster.
Both finished well ahead of D-backs third baseman Mark Reynolds, Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp and Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman.
In the four games -- three losses -- that Victorino was sidelined, the Phillies scored just 12 runs.
"I'm definitely excited to be back out there," said Victorino, who was hitless in two pinch-hit appearances. "I'm tired of sitting on the bench and not helping my team."
Victorino had started 97 of the Phillies' first 99 games before the injury and still has a nasty bruise covering most of his left thigh. He has been taking ice treatments to reduce the swelling and is wearing a black protective sleeve over the tender discolored area.
His leg is still sore from Thursday's first-inning diving grab.
"It feels a little tight, a little stiff, that's the only think I'm worried about," Victorino said.
But that wasn't going to keep the energetic Hawaii native sidelined any longer.
"I'm not that kind of person -- I don't want to be on the bench and watching, getting in to pinch-hit," Victorino said. "I said I'd play Tuesday, so, it's Tuesday."
David Gurian-Peck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.