Originally posted on Sox and Dawgs  |  Last updated 3/27/12

IF there was a power struggle between Boston Red Sox GM Ben Cherington and skipper Bobby Valentine, then score this one for Cherington.

One of the positions the Red Sox had a competition for during spring training was shortstop. The players involved were Mike Aviles, Jose Iglesias and Nick Punto.

While Punto hasn't played shortstop this spring, the other two have gotten a good portion of the innings. Valentine has favored Iglesias at the position due to what he brings defensively. Aviles, on the other hand, doesn't have the same glove as Iglesias but has the better bat.

But after the baseball operations staff and coaching staff met last night, the Red Sox announced that Iglesias had been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. They also optioned Lars Anderson to Pawtucket as well.

With Iglesias going down, Aviles will be the 2012 starting shortstop for the Red Sox while it seems Punto will be the utility infielder backing up Dustin Pedroia, Aviles and Kevin Youkilis.

Honestly, I can say I'm not surprised about this.

I thought that Aviles would "win" this competition mainly because of his bat. Jarrod Saltalamacchia isn't exactly Babe Ruth so you had to wonder if the Red Sox were willing to sacrifice another spot in the batting order for defense.

Of course if Aviles doesn't perform offensively or craps the bed defensively, it wouldn't surprise me either if Iglesias was back up pretty quick.

So now we wait to see who the final two starters will be and how the bullpen shapes up for the 2012 Red Sox.

Follow Ian on Twitter @soxanddawgs. And be sure to like us on Facebook as well.

Photo credit: AP Photo

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