CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

After Middlebrooks tweaks hammy, ill Aviles fills in

After Middlebrooks tweaks hammy, ill Aviles fills in

After Middlebrooks tweaks hammy, ill Aviles fills in
SEATTLE -- When Mike Aviles came up ill and had to be scratched from the lineup shortly before game-time, manager Bobby Valentine didn't think he'd be calling on his shortstop for the rest of the day.

But when third baseman Will Middlebrooks had to leave in the bottom of the ninth with left hamstring tightness, Aviles was fortunately able to answer the bell and enter the game at shortstop. Nick Punto moved from short to third.

Without Aviles being able to play, Valentine wouldn't have had the flexibility to have Ryan Kalish serve as a pinch-hitter for Brent Lillibridge in the 10th. And all Kalish did was crush a one-out double off the wall in center, sparking what wound up as the game-winning rally in a 2-1 win by the Red Sox.

More

"It's all about the breaks, and you know we got a break where Mike Aviles came off the deathbed there and was able to go out and play shortstop, which allowed us to pinch-hit Kalish, who went out there and put one off the wall," Valentine said. "Otherwise, he would have been out there with Brent at third base and Kalish wouldn't have hit that inning."

While young players sometimes have a hard time feeling comfortable in a pinch-hitting situation, Kalish said he kind of likes it.

"I don't really mind it," Kalish said. "It's just another obstacle that you can show your value. Obviously you go out there and you're just trying to have something happen. But you just keep it light. It's a situation where there's pressure, but there's really none because you haven't been in the game a long time. You're just out there trying to put a good swing on something. My whole life when I've pinch-hit, I've had pretty good success. I kind of find it fun."

Middlebrooks also battled hamstring tightness about six weeks ago, but he recovered quickly. The Red Sox are hoping for the same result this time, though Valentine said the team would have a better read on the situation when they start a three-game series in Oakland on Monday.

Less