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."
Mitch Moreland and Sam Travis hit three-run homers and left-hander Brian Johnson started and pitched two scoreless innings to help the Red Sox win their spring training opener, 9-6, over Northeastern University on Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla.
Johnson, who made one spot start in his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2015 but then was derailed by injuries and anxiety issues last season, struck out three and walked one Thursday. He's expected to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 5-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 15 starts in 2016.
Moreland, the left-handed hitting first baseman signed to a one-year deal after spending his first seven seasons with the Texas Rangers, and Travis, a right-handed hitting first base prospect coming back from knee surgery last season, each hit three-run homers in a six-run third inning.
Pablo Sandoval, attempting to reclaim the third-base job after missing nearly all of last season after surgery on his left shoulder, went 1-for-2 with a double.
The Red Sox open Grapefruit League play Friday afternoon when they host the New York Mets at JetBlue Park.
CSN baseball analyst Lou Merloni sits down with Pedro Martinez and Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis to discuss one of Pedro's greatest games.
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On September 10, 1999 at the height of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, Pedro Martinez struck out 17 Yankees in a complete game victory, with the only hit he allowed being a home run to Chili Davis. The two men recall that memorable night in the Bronx, and discuss the state of pitching in 2017.