Lillibridge auditioning for bench role next year

Lillibridge auditioning for bench role next year

CLEVELAND -- Brent Lillibridge is viewing his situation with Cleveland as a kind of audition. Perform well as the team's super utility man, and maybe there will be a bench role waiting for him when next season arrives.

Since joining the Indians on July 24, Lillibridge has certainly opened a few eyes.

"I feel like in a way I'm in a tryout," Lillibridge said. "I was with the White Sox for a long time -- they knew what I could do. Here, I'm just trying to prove and show that I can play this game and play at this level.

"I'm going to play hard and work really hard on trying to stay focused on whatever position I'm playing.'

Cleveland acquired Lillibridge in a trade with the Red Sox, who landed him in the deal that sent Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox on June 24. The Tribe had indeed seen plenty of Lillibridge in his three-plus seasons in Chicago -- enough to feel he could fill multiple roles as a right-handed bench option.

Through his first 11 games with the Indians, Lillibridge has already spent time at second base, shortstop and third base, along with stops in left and center field. He has also hit .300 (9-for-30) with three extra-base hits and six runs scored. In 59 games between the White Sox and Red Sox earlier this year, he hit .165 (13-for-79) with one extra-base hit.

"He's very versatile," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He's having a tough year overall, but he can play all over the place. He plays good defense and he can run, and he's swung the bat against left-handed pitching so far here. It helps. He has given us some more flexibility off the bench."