Red Sox activate Victorino, option Bradley

Red Sox activate Victorino, option Bradley

BOSTON -- Shane Victorino has made his share of returns to the Red Sox the last couple of seasons, and the hope is that this time, he can stay healthy for a prolonged period. The right fielder was activated prior to Friday's game against the Astros, and Jackie Bradley Jr. was optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Victorino, who returns from a left calf strain that had sidelined him since May 24, was not in Friday's lineup, but manager John Farrell expects he will start on Saturday.

"Well, when Vic's been on the field, he's been a key contributor," said Farrell. "He's not in the lineup tonight but certainly available to come off the bench. We've seen him have an impact on both sides of the ball for us and we expect that going forward. We're still in the process of building him up with the number of consecutive games played, but I would also anticipate him being in the lineup probably tomorrow."

For the most part, Victorino will start against lefties.

"Vic brings a tremendous amount of energy. He talks the game. He's always seeing game situations as they unfold on the field and talking it in the dugout. We've missed that voice," Farrell said. "I know Vic feels more comfortable in speaking his mind when he's active and on the field and contributing. His in-game decisions are outstanding. And defense in this ballpark in right field, he plays it as good as anyone has played it. We're looking forward to having that back."

Bradley went 4-for-19 in his latest abbreviated stint with the team, including a homer.

"The numbers are what they are, but what you do see is a swing path that I think is still more consistent than it was a year ago," said Farrell. "That was evident in Spring Training, and he carried it through. He hasn't had the production at the big league level play itself out yet. We know that there's a sizable gap between Triple-A and here, and yet Jackie is still working his way to get his feet on the ground and be a consistent performer here."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.