FORT MYERS, Fla. — When Mike Aviles arrived at JetBlue Park Tuesday as a member of the visiting team, he went immediately to the home clubhouse.
The former Red Sox infielder, who started at shortstop for Puerto Rico in a pre-World Baseball Classic exhibition game, was excited to catch up with his former teammates.
“I have a little extra energy, a little pep in my step,” said Aviles, who was 2 for 4 with a double in a 4-3 loss to the Sox. “I can see a lot of the guys I didn’t get a chance to see for a while, being in Arizona for spring training.”
The Red Sox acquired Aviles from the Royals at the trade deadline in 2011. He hit .261 with a .681 OPS over parts of two seasons and started games at four positions.
The Red Sox traded Aviles to Toronto last Oct. 21 as compensation for manager John Farrell. The Jays then traded Aviles to the Cleveland Indians 13 days later.
Farrell called Aviles at the time to wish him well.
“It was kind of cool to get a chance to talk to him because he didn’t have to do that,” Aviles said. “It showed me what kind of guy he is. I definitely appreciated that.
“It was definitely weird, what happened. But you can also take it as an honor. I know how much the Red Sox valued his leadership.”
Aviles is enjoying playing for former Red Sox manager Terry Francona in Cleveland. He will be a super utility player for the Indians, and Francona has assured him of plentiful at-bats.
“It’s been unbelievable,” said Aviles. “He’s been taking care of the players like he’s known to do. It’s definitely fun and exciting. He makes camp a little different than normal. He’s yelled at me a couple of times in a good way.”
Aviles likes the look of his old team, saying the Red Sox could be better than expected.
“I’ll tell you what, they definitely made some good changes,” he said. “It’s a good group of guys over here as well. I got a chance to play with those guys and against those guys that they brought in.
“I think they’re going to have a good season and it’s going to be a tough AL East. I think they’re going to do well in that division.”
On the path back
David Ortiz ran the bases again Tuesday. The session was shorter and less intense than what he did Monday. But Farrell said it was a good sign because Ortiz felt ready to run again.
“It was fine,” Ortiz said. “No trouble.”
Ortiz has yet to get into a game as he recovers from a small tear in his right Achilles’ tendon suffered last July. Farrell said he is hopeful that Ortiz will make his debut later this week.
“We’ll determine what the next steps are,” said the manager. “We’re only in Tuesday of this week. We’re going to work off David’s response to the work sessions.
“The fact that he’s able to get back on the base paths today and feel pretty good about himself before going into it is a pretty good sign.”
A report issued by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said that 23-year-old Sox lefthander Drake Britton was clocked at 111 m.p.h. early Saturday before he was arrested on multiple charges that included driving under the influence. Britton was scheduled to pitch Sunday against the Yankees and did not. He was optioned to Double A Portland Monday.
Britton was driving a black Silverado pickup truck at more than twice the posted 45 m.p.h. speed limit, according to police. He eluded pursuit by swerving between vehicles before leaving the road and driving down an incline and eventually knocking over a barbed-wire fence.
Police said Britton then tried to drive through a wooded area before he was arrested at 4:42 a.m. in Estero, a town adjacent to Fort Myers.
Britton was charged with DUI, DUI property damage, and reckless driving. Police noted that he had slurred speech, bloodshot and watery eyes, and a strong odor of alcohol at the time he was finally stopped. He offered his debit card when asked for identification.
“We take every situation like that seriously,” Farrell said. “In this case with Drake, it’s still being addressed. We’re still gathering information and the facts of what transpired. Fortunately in this case there was no one injured. But bottom line it’s a very serious issue with us.
This is the second consecutive year a Red Sox pitcher has been arrested for DUI-related charges during spring training. Righthander Bobby Jenks was arrested last March 23 after leaving a Fort Myers strip club.
Angling to improve
Jon Lester is a decent fielder but has had trouble throwing to bases for several years. He spent extra time on the field working on his defense with minor league pitching coaches Rich Sauveur and Bob Kipper. They were teaching him to field the ball and to throw from a low angle after he picks the ball up instead of standing up straight and throwing overhand . . . Daniel Bard is slated to pitch Thursday. He has not been in a game since Feb. 25 because pitching coach Juan Nieves was making mechanical adjustments to his delivery . . . Xander Bogaerts was 1 for 3 with a double and a sacrifice to help the Netherlands to a 4-1 victory over Australia in the World Baseball Classic. The Dutch advanced to the second round, meaning Bogaerts will be away from Red Sox camp for at least another week.