BOSTON -- Bobby Valentine had originally planned on playing Mike Aviles at second base on Friday night against the Baltimore Orioles.
Not just to find room for Aviles in the Red Sox starting lineup, but also to give Dustin Pedroia some time off. The team didn't return home from Tampa until 4 a.m. Friday; and the fact that Pedroia's wife, Kelli, recently gave birth to their second child, also factored into Valentine's thinking.
But Pedroia showed up to Fenway Park at his regular time, and was insistent that he play. And with Jose Iglesias starting at shortstop and Pedro Ciriaco at third base, there was once again no room for Aviles in the starting lineup, for the fifth time in six games.
"I wish I had Aviles' playing time figured out, for his sake," said Valentine before Friday's game. "But the way things change around here -- for instance -- I was thinking about playing him at second base today, and giving Dustin this day off, as we got in at 4 o'clock in the morning, and he has a newborn. I know him, with family and business, that he really wanted to play today. So that's a game that Mike didn't get to play.
"That's Dustin," added Valentine. "You know, you've got to love him. He has no injuries that he's dealing with, and he brought his older son Dylan to the ballpark. I told him to stay home late, come late. Instead, he came at the regular time, and took a little stress away from Kelli at home.
"By 2 o'clock, he was insistent."