BOSTON -- With Kevin Youkilis and Jed Lowrie both out, the starting third baseman for the Red Sox has temporarily become Mike Aviles.
Coming off a 3-for-4 performance in Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Rays, Aviles hit in the two-hole on Sunday against left-hander David Price, and he doubled in his first at-bat. That gave him a streak of nine straight starts that he's had a hit, with a .455 average (15-for-33) in that time.
"When he first came up, he was such a good offensive player, especially against us," manager Terry Francona said. "He started playing sporadically, and it looked like it affected his swing a little bit. He shows you at times what he can do. He's a strong kid, and if you can throw it where he can reach it, he'll hit it a long way. Hopefully, getting some consistent at-bats will help him, too."
Since the Red Sox traded for Aviles on July 30, he's hitting .370, including Sunday's first at-bat.
As for Youkilis and Lowrie, the former's situation remains murky. The Sox just aren't sure how much time off he needs, and how much of a help that time off will be. Bothered by his left hip and a sports hernia, Youkilis last played on Thursday.
"Obviously, the hope is that if he doesn't play, he's going to feel better. I don't think this thing is going to go away," manager Terry Francona said. "It's not going to miraculously -- although today is Faith Day ...
"He needs some time down, whether it's days or a week -- we don't know. As he starts to feel good enough, we'll try to ramp him up and see how he does. That's about the best I can give you."
As for Lowrie, he said he told Francona on Saturday that he's capable of playing following the cortisone shot he had in his left shoulder Tuesday. Lowrie's available to pinch-hit, but Francona wanted to give Lowrie more time before starting him.
"We thought about playing Jed today. When Jed is really healthy, he has that ability to really impact our lineup," Francona said. "When he's not, it's easier to make outs. We're trying to buy him as much time as we can so when he does play, he can really help us."