BOSTON — Hawaiian Shane Victorino was so excited to arrive in Boston in the chill of December he ordered some New England clam chowder at dinner and sent a picture to his Twitter followers.
That’s when he got his first lesson.
“It’s CHOWDA, Shane!” Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury corrected him.
“That was the first real message from Jacoby for Boston,” Victorino said yesterday at a news conference to announce the $39 million, three-year deal he agreed to at the winter meetings. “I’ve got to learn the lingo.”
Victorino joins Ellsbury in the Red Sox outfield, with the opportunity to replace the 2011 AL MVP runner-up when Ellsbury’s contract expires at the end of next season. In the meantime, Victorino is slotted for right field, where he has not played regularly since 2007.
“I always look at it as, ‘I’m going to help this team win,’” Victorino said. “I came in as a right fielder. ... Don’t get me wrong, I love center field, I want to be a center fielder, but I play right. I’m excited for the opportunity. I might wrap myself around that pole, but if I’ve got to go get the ball, I’ve got to go get it.”
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said adding a “center field-quality right fielder” was one of his goals for the offseason. It’s also been important to add players who can improve the chemistry of a team that collapsed in September 2011 and never got in position to collapse in 2012.
“He fits perfectly into our short- and long-term plan,” Cherington said. “He’s been an outstanding performer for a lot of years in a tough place to play. He’s been a big part of great teams. We’re thrilled to add him to our team and to our clubhouse.”