ST. PETERSBURG -- With Jose Iglesias seeing the bulk of playing time at shortstop recently, Mike Aviles returned to the Red Sox's lineup and shifted over to third base for the first time this season in Thursday's series finale vs. the Rays.
Aviles, who made 126 starts at shortstop, isn't completely unfamiliar to the position, starting 36 games at the hot corner in 2011 with the Royals and Red Sox.
"I asked Mike if he thought it'd be fair, and he said it was fine," manager Bobby Valentine said, not wanting to put Aviles in an uncomfortable spot. "It kind of makes it fair if he thinks it."
Aviles has been a rarity for Boston this year, being one of the few of the team's position players not to go on the disabled list. Being able to plug him in the lineup day after day has been a blessing for Valentine.
"He's played more than he's ever played, he's played consistently," Valentine said. "His defense has been, I think, amazing. His offense has been very productive. Obviously the walks aren't there, but he's gotten big hits, and he's hit good pitching, he's run the bases well."
In a career-high 133 games this year, Aviles is hitting .250 with 13 homers and 60 RBIs. Defensively, he's committed a team-high 14 errors.
Aviles hasn't seen as much playing time lately, and with the addition of Iglesias, sitting isn't "his cup of tea," said Valentine.
That doesn't take anything away from the way he's performed, though.
"He should be proud of the way he's played," Valentine said, "and I also am proud of the way he's played."