BOSTON -- Mike Aviles arrived in Boston at the end of July with the notion that he'd be a utility player on a contending team -- and he seemed fine with his role.
But with Jed Lowrie's left shoulder, Marco Scutaro's back and some crafty managing by Terry Francona, Aviles has gotten in the lineup more often than not with his new team, hitting .333 in 11 games since joining the Sox.
"Well, I think with most utility guys or guys that can move around the field, sometimes their playing time is dictated not by so much how they swing the bat but by who's available or not available," Francona said Wednesday, with Aviles in the lineup for the third straight game. "The one nice thing we've seen is his ability to play shortstop has really made it easier. We actually put Jed at third, put [Mike] at short just because of his range.
"And I think at some point, he'll be a good outfielder. Probably a little bit rushed right now, but I think at some point, he'll do that well, too."
Aviles has played some right field for the Sox, a position he hadn't played since college. But his offensive ability has been heavily impacted by the pitcher on the mound, as his .311 average against lefties this season indicates. Aviles has hit just .205 off right-handed pitchers.
"[Against] certain types of pitchers, he can be real dangerous, especially left-handers," Francona said. "Righties can get the ball in close to him. He's a pretty strong kid. He looks to hit a mistake."
Francona said Scutaro, who has been dealing with back tightness, won't play again until he's cleared by the medical staff, though there's no timetable for his return.
Jason Mastrodonato is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.