Maui big leaguers gear up for baseball season
By Fred Guzman
Shane Victorino returns as the starting center fielder for the highly touted Philadelphia Phillies.
Kurt Suzuki returns as the starting catcher for the Oakland Athletics.
And Kanekoa Texeira appears to have secured a bullpen berth with the Kansas City Royals.
Victorino was involved in a scary collision on Monday when he ran into teammate Raul Ibanez while chasing down a fly ball that forced him out of an exhibition game against Boston because of facial injuries. But Victorino later proclaimed himself OK following the crash.
The 30-year-old switch-hitter is coming off a season during which he batted a modest .259 but had 18 homers to go with 69 RBI, 84 runs and 34 steals in 147 games.
Victorino is hitting the ball well in 20 games this spring, batting .333 with seven doubles, two homers, nine RBI and nine runs.
The 27-year-old Suzuki appeared in 131 games for the A’s, batting .242 with 13 homers, 71 RBI and 55 runs.
Suzuki has seen limited duty this spring, but is batting .313 in 12 games. He has a pair of homers and doubles and has driven in seven runs while scoring five.
The 25-year-old Texeira started last season with the Seattle Mariners and finished the campaign with Kansas City. The rookie appeared in 43 games, posting a 1-1 record with a 4.84 ERA and was credited with two holds.
Texeira has pitched brilliantly this spring, allowing a single run and three hits in 6.2 innings over five relief outings. He has a 1.34 ERA and one save.