|Mike Aviles on Marco Scutaro trade: ‘I was definitely surprised’||02.19.12 at 7:11 pm ET|
FORT MYERS — Mike Aviles is accustomed to making changes on the fly.
This winter was no different. He was in Puerto Rico getting ready to compete for an outfield job, with the vacancy in right field and Carl Crawford on the shelf in left. Then, just over three weeks before camp, he was stunned like many Red Sox fans that the team traded starting shortstop Marco Scutaro to the Rockies.
The Red Sox decided to bring Nick Punto on board and have Aviles and Punto compete for the shortstop job.
“I was really surprised because in my own head, I was set on doing the outfield thing because I actually went out there and really worked hard at getting better at it because I don’t want to be the guy who comes in and is a liability,” Aviles said. “I want to help the team, whatever it is, whether it’s pinch-running, pinch-hitting, playing right, left, center, it doesn’t matter. Whatever my role may be, I just don’t want to be that guy, ‘Why do we have him?’ And that’s just how I go about my business. I was actually excited about the shortstop opportunity but a little bummed about the outfield thing but that’s just how it is, right?
“I was definitely surprised because he’s done well here the last couple of years. He’s been a big part of this team. You don’t usually trade your starting shortstop so it was definitely a surprise to me.”
As for the ‘P’ word, Aviles said he’s not worried about any pressure.
“I think there will be more pressure on [media's] shoulders,” Aviles said. “Me personally, I don’t really pay attention to it. Regardless of what anybody says, I have to come here every day and do the job they’re paying me to do. It’s not going to change whether I’m playing short, second, bench role, any way there’s pressure in this game so it’s not going to change. I just forget about it and go out and change.
“It’s my natural position so it’s the one I feel like is the easiest for me to get the flow of things.”
Aviles walked in Sunday to the new Red Sox clubhouse to see he is lockered next to his potential new double-play partner.
“Definitely fun,” Aviles said of seeing lots of Dustin Pedroia this spring. “I’m going to get to see a lot of him because he obviously has a locker next to me. I’m just going to go out there and make every play I can. That’s really what it comes down to, that’s really what it comes down to, make the routine plays and not try to be too crazy. There’s nothing really out of the ordinary. I’m just going to try to do what I normally do. I’m not going to do too much because that’s when I put too much pressure on myself.
“Whenever you have chemistry, it always helps out, too. I felt like last year, I had a pretty good relationship with him, even though I wasn’t playing short as much so I think it’ll be pretty good.”
And with Punto on board, Aviles is going to have time this spring to catch up with a veteran he gained a great deal of respect for when he was in Kansas City and Punto was in Minnesota.
“He’s one of the guys playing against him the past couple of days you kind of hate because he does so many little things. If you’re playing defense against him, it’s so frustrating because you could play him up the middle, he’ll hit one in the hole, you play him in the hole, he’ll hit one up the middle. He just does so many things good. I’ve had a lot of respect for him, playing against the Twins.”
This is all about opportunity for Aviles, pure and simple. He had that chance in Kansas City and thrived. He had his chance to play a lot last season when Kevin Youkilis went down with a bad hip.
“Of course, anybody who gets an opportunity to be a starter, it’s always fun,” Aviles said. “Pretty much, I’m just coming to camp the same way I always do every year, just ready to play and preparing myself to play every day. if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. Either way, I’ll just do whatever role that is asked of me and fill in accordingly.
“No different because the offseason I prepare myself to play every day, physically and mentally. Then when I come into camp, if I do play every day, it’s OK. If I don’t play every day, then I prepare myself for a different role. Nobody goes into the offseason and prepares themselves to be a utility [player]. Everybody prepares themselves to [play] every day because you never know when somebody gets hurt or whatever the case may be and you have to step in.”
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