Aviles happy with Tribe role in return to Fenway

Aviles happy with Tribe role in return to Fenway
May 26, 2013, 6:15 pm
Share This Post

BOSTON -- Mike Aviles was surprised when he received the call.

The regular season had ended less than one month earlier and he was already on the move. The Boston Red Sox weren't going after a player in this transaction, though. They had a much more immediate need. On October 21, 2012 the Red Sox traded Aviles to the Toronto Blue Jays in the deal to land John Farrell as the new manager.  

"When I originally got traded to Toronto, I was definitely a little in awe," Aviles said Sunday during his first series back at Fenway Park. "For one, I was a little shocked I got traded so quick into the offseason. I didn't think that would happen. When I found out I was getting traded for a manager I was a little in awe. Then I also understood that the Red Sox valued John Farrell highly and so when I thought of it that way, I thought of it as an honor to be traded for a manager that was valued so highly."

Aviles received another call two weeks later in early November. This time he had been traded from the Blue Jay to the Cleveland Indians. After being involved in a deal to bring Farrell to Boston, he was being reunited with his former manager, Terry Francona, on his new team.

"I thought it was awesome because I got to play for Tito again," said Aviles, who joined the Red Sox in late July 2011. "At first instinct I was like, I know they've got a good young ball club and Tito's going to be there, so this is going to be fun."

As the offseason continued, Aviles found himself sharing a clubhouse with more familiar faces. Former Red Sox Matt Albers and Rich Hill joined the Indians pitching staff.

This season Aviles is finding himself in another situation -- playing the utility role on the Indians. Entering Sunday's game he had played five different positions: third base (12 games), shortstop (11 games), second base (6 games), left field (2 games) and right field (1 game).

"(My role is) to be ready," he said. "Play second, short, third, left, right, everywhere -- I'm pretty much super utility, which is awesome. When you have a team as good as I feel our team is, it's definitely fun to be able to play multiple positions, get in there, and contribute wherever I can. It's been fun so far."

The fun starts in the clubhouse, where Aviles, 32, smiles talking about the team chemistry. He also believes Francona's style of managing also helps the Indians (27-22) succeed.

"We've got a bunch of good people and the personalities are all mixing well," Aviles said. "We get on each other quite a bit but it's more of like big brother, little brother kind of stuff. You're messing around with each other, always joking around, and I think it keeps it a little lax and enjoyable. It makes it fun to come to the ballpark and play."

He continued, "I just like Tito's demeanor. Everybody who's been around Tito knows that he's a fun kind of guy and he only cares that you play hard for him. He understands you're not going to be on your A-game every single day, and he also understands that losing is a part of the game. So he doesn't really harp on you for those kinds of things. It's more like his energy that he brings makes you want to come to the ballpark and play hard every single day. It's definitely a good characteristic that he has and I know it rubs off on all of us."

Aviles is on his third Major League team. Regardless of where he plays, he brings the same approach to each clubhouse. While he is glad he had the opportunity to don a Red Sox uniform, he was all smiles sitting back in his chair in the Indians clubhouse.

"I haven't changed at all," he said. "That's one thing I always pride myself on is not changing. I just feel like I'm going to enjoy the game and I'm going to enjoy every single day I have this uniform because you never know when it gets taken away from you. My whole thing is I never wanted to let the big leagues change me or any team change me. It's more, I just want to be me and fit in with the guys. So far I feel I've done a good job of that."