Aviles continues strong spring at the plate

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Aviles continues strong spring at the plate

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- If Mike Aviles doesn't win the starting shortstop job, it won't be because he didn't have a strong spring.

Aviles continued his hot streak at the plate with two doubles and a single in four at-bats, pushing his Grapefruit League average to .333. Sunday in the Red Sox' 6-5, 10-inning loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

"In all honesty, I've just been trying to square the ball up as much as possible,'' said Aviles. "I don't really pay too much mind to where it really goes, but as of late, it seems like they're actually falling, which is good. We're getting closer to the season.''

Manager Bobby Valentine hasn't named a starter at short and Jose Iglesias has impressed with his defnsive play. But Aviles is trying not to pay attention to the competition.

"I don't think of it, honestly,'' he said. "I just come prepared for the season. As long as I'm taking good swinging and making my plays, I know I'm preparing myself for to be ready for the season. That's the big focus for me -- doing what I can do to make the plays, get on base and help the team win. I haven't paid too much mind to it.

"I'm kind of a tough-skinned person, so I don't pay too much mind. There's a bigger situation at hand, and that's winning ballgames, winning a championship. I'm not worrying about who's playing where. I play where I play. That's just how it's going to be. Bobby makes that call, he makes that lineup. I just follow accordingly.''

Said Valentine: "Mike's made all the plays at shortstop and hit the ball hard most every game he's played. It looks like he's taken to the position like a duck to water.''

Regardless of Valentine's call, Aviles can comfort himself with the fact that he's given himself the best chance possible with his level of play.

"Absolutely,'' he agreed. "I feel like I've prepared myself all spring and I'm in a position where I can help the team, regardless of what situation it is.''

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