FORT MYERS, Fla. – Making his return to the Red Sox spring training home, it was weird, Mike Aviles, said to head to the visitors’ clubhouse. With Team Puerto Rico, Aviles faced the Sox in an exhibition tune-up Tuesday before the World Baseball Classic.
The Sox former shortstop was ‘traded’ to the Blue Jays in the offseason as part of the compensation for manager John Farrell, who called him shortly after the transaction to give a scouting report on Toronto, the city and the team.
“It was kind cool to get a chance to talk to him because he didn’t have to do that,” Aviles said. “It showed me what kind of guy he is. I definitely appreciated that.”
Aviles didn’t last long with the Blue Jays, though. Just a few weeks after they acquired him they sent him to Cleveland in another trade. He is now reunited with manager Terry Francona, who has told Aviles he would get a lot of at-bats as the Indians’ super-utility player.
“It’s been unbelievable,” Aviles said of working with Francona. “He’s been taking care of the players like he’s known to do. It’s definitely fun and exciting. He makes camp a little different than normal. He’s yelled at me a couple of times in a good way. He’s been telling me every day that he’s been dying to [ask] me what the hell am I doing? He tries to find a way to do it every day.”
He likes his new team’s prospects.
“I think we’re in a great place,” he said. “If you’re in that locker room, you definitely can feel the good energy and feel how different the atmosphere is with those people. Even the guys that have been there, they said the same thing. The guys who came in have good energy and just look like they want to have fun. That’s going to be pretty much our motto all year. Let’s have fun and let’s win and have fun.”
He also likes what he sees of the new-look Red Sox.
“I’ll tell you what, they definitely made some good changes,” he said. “It’s a good group of guys over here as well. I got a chance to play with those guys and against those guys that they brought in. I think they’re going to have a good season and it’s going to be a tough AL East. I think they’re going to do well in that division.”
He had a message for Dustin Pedroia, in case he got on base.
“I already told him I’m coming in cleats up,” Aviles said. “That’s probably going to hit him right around his neck. We’ll see what happens.