CHICAGO — On Friday, Mike Aviles complained about being in a backup role with the last-place Kansas City Royals, saying it wasn’t justified given his past accomplishments with the team.
A day later, he was traded to the Red Sox. But now he’s just fine with being a backup. Thrilled, actually.
“Definitely a good thing. I thank Kansas City for the opportunity and I’m excited to be here,” he said tonight the Red Sox beat the White Sox, 10-2.
Aviles, who was in Cleveland with the Royals, arrived in the third inning, pulled his new uniform with No. 3 on the back and played the bottom of the ninth inning at third base.
The 30-year-old has played second, third and shortstop. The righthanded hitting Aviles is hitting .222 this season but is at .309 with a .944 OPS in 59 at-bats against lefthanded pitchers. He is career .296 hitter against lefties.
Playing off the bench for the Red Sox, Aviles said, is not a problem.
“The situation here is completely different,” he said. “We’re in first place and we have an opportunity to win a world championship. It’s going to take more than 25 guys to do that. I’m more than happy to be one of those guys."
Sox manager Terry Francona said Aviles would be tried in the outfield. He has not played there since his days at Division II Concordia College in Bronxville, N.Y.
“I know I’m pretty athletic,” said Aviles, a native of Middletown, N.Y. “I think I can pick it up pretty quick.”
Red Sox vice president of player personnel and professional scouting Allard Baird was the general manager of the Royals when Aviles was drafted in 2003. Francona said the Red Sox have liked Aviles for some time because of his versatility, which includes a little speed and power.
With Jed Lowrie scheduled to start a rehab assignment with Pawtucket on Monday, the Red Sox would not seem to have a pressing need for a utility infielder. Francona claimed the trade does not reflect any uncertainty with Lowrie coming back.
“No," he said. "Jed's probably coming a little quicker than we thought. ... I just think this is a guy we've liked for a long time."
Aviles also has options remaining, surely another thing the Red Sox value as they want their roster to remain flexible.