The Red Sox sent utility man Mike Aviles to Puerto Rico for two weeks to help him get acclimated with right field, a position currently up for grabs. Aviles took advantage of the opportunity, and to his surprise, actually enjoyed roaming right.
"I had to leave my family for a couple of weeks, but it was a lot more positives because going into spring training now I feel comfortable playing in the outfield just as if I were in the infield. I won’t feel like a liability, whether it’s spring training or not. I just don’t want to feel like I’m hurting the team at any point at any time.”
“Actually when I went to winter ball this winter, playing every single day out there, I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would... I enjoyed the outfield just as much as I did playing the infield, and I was actually kind of surprised by that. I just wanted to be on the field, whether was infield or outfield.”
I don't know what the stadium he played at in Puerto Rico looks like, but it wasn't Fenway's right field. So hopefully he'll get plenty of chances to field balls in Boston before the season begins.
And, barring something wild happening, Mike Aviles will not be the Sox every day right fielder; he'll keep his super utility cape on all season. But the Sox want to get his bat into the lineup (he hit .317 over 38 games in Boston last year) so getting him comfortable in right just makes sense. Still, it's nice to see him forfeiting some of his winter to get cozy in a new position.