By Sean McAdam
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Carl Crawford's signing last December pushed Mike Cameron out of a starting job, but that doesn't mean that Cameron didn't welcome the move.
In fact, he helped make it happen.
Cameron, who arrived at camp early Thursday morning, called Crawford at the behest of general manager Theo Epstein and attempted to sell him on coming to Boston.
"I was being a little bit of an assistant GM," said Cameron. "or a college recruiter. I just told him about the positives and let him figure out what he wanted to do. I talked about my experiences, what it's like playing in Boston."
Of course, since Cameron's sale pitch was successful, Cameron himself is without a full-time position. He's expected to serve as Jacoby Ellsbury's backup in center and get significant at-bats in right field against lefties. He could also DH some, with David Ortiz sitting against some left-handers.
Asked how defined his role is, a smiling Cameron said: "I don't know. I just showed up. I played 14 years of 150 games in center field so. I'm excited about what is in store for me, the challenge of a different role I'm going to have to take on. I've got every tool in the bag to prepare for what's in store. Ultimately, I'm just getting ready for good baseball in 2011.
"It will work itself out. I just want to be part of a really good, healthy baseball team."
Though he played center last season, it's been a while since Cameron has played much in right.
"I've got a little experience over there," he said. "The only place I would have to work at it would be left field. I'm cool with it. I have to get re-aquainted with it."
Given that Cameron is still capable of playing every day, it's possible that there could be clubs who come to the Red Sox to ask about his availability.
"I'm sure that's definitely going to take place," said Cameron. "But that's the last thing on my mind. I know there's a possibility of that taking place. As of now, I'm here."
He's also healthy, having labored through the first half of last season with an abdominal tear and a sports hernia. He finally underwent season-ending surgery in August, impacting his off-season.
"I had to change everything because I did so much physical therapy," he said. "Five days a week, three hours. But I feel I'm a lot stronger in the places I need to be. So I'm looking to have a healthy mind and healthy body."
The therapy began four days after the surgery was performed and lasted until the first week of February. He feels good, but the biggest tests are still to come.
"I guess it's uncharted," he said. "As much as I did at home, we'll find out when we start really going. We always say it's not about being in shape, it's about being in baseball shape. Hopefully, my old man doesn't kick in for a while."
Cameron is bullish on the Red Sox' potential, regardless of what role he plays.
"This kind of reminds me of my years in Seattle, when everything was loaded -- pitching staff, bullpen," said Cameron, who played with the Mariners from 2000-2004 when they never won fewer than 91 games and won 116 in 2001. "Everytyhing's in place. Now we just have to work to put everything together, try to stat healthy. If everything falls into place, we should be pretty good.
"Josh Beckett pretty much said it: We have a chance to win 100 games and that ain't easy to do in this division. To do it in this division, that's a pretty high goal. But we're capable with the talent in here."
Sean McAdam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam