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Aviles ready to serve, no matter what the role


GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Indians don't know yet how much Mike Aviles is going to play this season, but they do know he will probably see plenty of action at multiple positions, as he offers versatility that is highly valued.

"It's really hard to find," manager Terry Francona said. "That's why I was so excited when we got him."

The Indians acquired Aviles, along with catcher Yan Gomes, from the Blue Jays in November in exchange for reliever Esmil Rogers. An everyday shortstop a year ago for the Red Sox before he went to Toronto, Aviles joins Cleveland as a super-utility man.

Aviles kept things simple and brought only two gloves to Spring Training -- one for the infield and one for the outfield. He can play all over the diamond, and he will serve as the primary backup to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, but he can also fill in at second and third base, or in left or right field, if needed.

"He does have the ability to play every day," Francona said. "And in his mind, he's an everyday player, and I'm glad he feels that way. Right now, the way we're situated, he's probably going to get at-bats bouncing around, and guys will get nicked up, it never fails, and he'll probably get some at-bats that way.

"But it's nice for us, because he'll go anywhere you put him and he'll compete. When he's not playing, he'll make somebody else better. It's what you want. Believe me, I know him so well, he's dying to play every day. I respect that in him. If he's not playing every day, he'll still make people better.

"Those guys are hard to find, but on good teams, you always have those guys."

Aviles will likely see action against left-handed pitching, considering he has hit .295 with a .339 on-base percentage in his career off southpaws, compared with .269/.294 against righties. In 136 games with Boston last year, he hit .250 with 13 homers, 14 stolen bases, 28 doubles, 57 runs scored and 60 RBIs.

He is ready to embrace his role with the Tribe.

"The bottom line is, we're all going to get a chance to play," Aviles said. "I'm going to play everywhere. Tito's been very vocal about it. He told me about it. He said, 'You're going to play everywhere. Be ready to play everywhere.' That's perfectly fine with me. I just want to get a chance to play, to help out."

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