DETROIT -- Justin Verlander was asked how you keep from plunking Shane Victorino, and he couldn't help but laugh.
"I've seen some pitches that he got hit on that were strikes," Verlander said during Monday's optional workout at Comerica Park, one day before taking the ball for Game 3 of an American League Championship Series that's tied at 1.
"I don't think you can worry about that. I think just whoever is the home-plate umpire needs to be aware that he's up there. Anything on the inner half, occasionally he's looking to get hit. He's up there, he's right on top of the plate. And his arms are over the batter's box and over part of the plate. If he doesn't get out of the way, there could be an occasion that it could be a strike and it actually hits him."
A big reason the Red Sox were able to get past the Rays in the AL Division Series was because Jacoby Ellsbury and Victorino were consistently getting on base at the top of the order. In seven playoff games, the No. 2-hitting Victorino has seven hits in 21 at-bats and has a .462 on-base percentage thanks in large part to a Major League-record five hit-by-pitches in these playoffs.
Victorino, a switch-hitter, recently started batting right-handed against right-handed pitchers. He crowds the plate, and he's usually willing to absorb a pitch to his left arm -- like Max Scherzer's fastball in Sunday's first inning.
"Do I love getting hit? Heck, no," Victorino said. "It starts to hurt. But I understand situations. These guys are just trying to make their pitches. They're trying to pitch in. And sometimes I get hit. I don't look at it any differently. But, you know, the little things like that, on-base percentage, a guy like me, that's what I get paid to do. That's what I'm supposed to do, is be on base."
Jason Beck, T.R. Sullivan and Alden Gonzalez are reporters for MLB.com. Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.