PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Shane Victorino will hear an unfamiliar sound at Chavez Ravine: cheers.
Philadelphia also gets a player to be named or cash for the 31-year-old Victorino, who can become a free agent after the season. The last-place Phillies then sent two-time All-Star right fielder Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants for three players.
Victorino is batting .261 with nine homers, 40 RBIs and 24 steals. He helped the Phillies win five straight NL East titles and the 2008 World Series championship.
“We’re excited to add an All-Star caliber player with postseason experience,” Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. “He plays the game with passion, gives us a top of the order bat from both sides of the plate, can steal bases and is solid defensively in the outfield.”
Victorino has been booed at Dodger Stadium since Game 3 of the 2008 NL championship series. Victorino took exception to a fastball thrown over his head by Hiroki Kuroda. He shouted at Kuroda while pointing at his own head and upper body as if to say: “It’s OK to throw at my body, but not my head.” Benches cleared, but no punches were thrown.
Victorino joins a team that’s tied for first place in the NL West with the Giants. Though he’s a three-time Gold Glove winner, he could move to left field because reigning Gold Glove winner Matt Kemp plays center. Kemp, however, told team officials that he’d be willing to move to left before the trade.
Victorino primarily batted second in Philadelphia’s lineup, though he hit everywhere from first to sixth this season. He’s expected to lead off for Los Angeles, which hasn’t had much production in that slot. Dodgers leadoff hitters have a .221 average and .279 on-base percentage this season. Victorino’s on-base percentage is .324, down from .355 last year.
“He is definitely a character and also he can handle in a real good way at times,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “Other times, he’s also worried about everything. Really. He’s worried about somebody in the stands. He’s worried about this. He’s worried about that. He’s worried about everything. You’re like, can I question how focused he can stay for a long period of time? But I look at his talent, and his talent was tremendous.”
Victorino is the second major addition for the Dodgers in the past week. They acquired three-time All-Star and former NL batting champion Hanley Ramirez from Miami last Thursday. Los Angeles strengthened its bullpen late Monday night, acquiring former All-Star reliever Brandon League from the Seattle Mariners for two prospects.
“It’s been a whirlwind for the Dodger organization,” team partner Magic Johnson said. “We’re in it to win it. We don’t want to wait till next year. We want to win right now.”
“Hanley Ramirez has really improved our lineup, and now Shane _ man, you need somebody with that type of speed. He’s gutty, he’s gritty, he’s tough-minded, and I think he’s going to help the locker room as well as on the field. And he’s a guy who’s done it. So we’re excited about having him,” he said.