By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
BOSTON Everyone should finally get a glimpse into why the Red Sox dealt for utility infielder Mike Aviles prior to the July 31 trade deadline when he makes his Red Sox debut in right field on Saturday afternoon.
Aviles was brought into the Sox fold from Kansas City for his versatility and the .316.349.945 numbers against left-handed pitching this season, and the Sox will test both by having him play right field and bat sixth against Yankees lefty C.C. Sabathia. Aviles hasnt played in the outfield regularly at any baseball level since playing for Division Concordia College, and actually hasnt played the outfield at all in the minor leagues or major leagues before heading into a nationally televised SoxYankees tilt.
Sox manager Terry Francona said that the main concern is not embarrassing Aviles by tossing him into the outfield after hes played primarily shortstop, second base and third base in the big leagues and the emergency left field play of Kevin Youkilis against the Yankees last season is what hes hoping to avoid.
Aviles put Franconas mind at ease with some braggadocio, and the former Royals utility guy now finds himself in the middle of the Boston lineup during a meaningful Red SoxYankees series. Something tells me he would have played anywhere that Francona asked him to.
"Aviles gave me a good answer when I asked him how he felt about it, said Francona. "He looked at me and he said, The one thing you need to know about me is I'm arrogant and confident. I said, So does that mean you'll go to the outfield? and he said, Yeah, which I thought was a good answer."
If Aviles can pull off the infieldoutfield thing, it gives the Sox manager the same kind of flexibility with offensive pop that Billy Hall provided last season before moving on to greener free agent pastures.
If he can go out there, it's almost like when we had Drew Sutton; it almost gives you a guy where you can go short and it doesn't hurt you. We'd like to get him out there in the outfield at some point. One thing you never want to do is embarrass anybody. Then a guy makes an error and I feel like I messed up. If he's comfortable enough, we'll probably get him out there at some point.''
It looks like both Aviles and Francona are comfy judging by todays lineup against C.C. Sabathia with the Yankees amidst an eight game winning streak.