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A good move for De Jesus

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / September 5, 2012
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SEATTLE — When the Red Sox traded Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Nick Punto to the Dodgers Aug. 25, the primary return was $264 million in salary relief.

But the Sox also received first baseman James Loney and four prospects in the megadeal. One of those prospects, 25-year-old infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr., joined the team Monday.

De Jesus was hoping the Dodgers would trade him before the non-waiver deadline on July 31. When that passed, it was disappointing.

“I wanted a fresh start,’’ said De Jesus, who has been playing with Pawtucket. “It was eight years with the Dodgers. I had a lot of great times and I learned a lot of good stuff.

“But there were some bad times, too. It was up and down for me. I needed to clean my mind a little bit and see what was out there for me.

“At the trade deadline, I wanted to get traded and it didn’t happen. Nothing happened and I was like, ‘OK, I will try and finish strong.’ Then this happened. I was really excited.”

De Jesus, a second-round pick in 2005, hit .289 with a .759 OPS as a minor leaguer with the Dodgers. But he played in only 40 major league games (12 as a starter) over two seasons.

“I just wanted a chance to show people what I can do,” he said. “I just want to show people that I can play in the big leagues.”

De Jesus is most comfortable at second base. But he can play shortstop, third base, right field, and left field. On Tuesday, before the Sox played the Seattle Mariners, De Jesus worked out in left field during early batting practice.

“He says he can play the corners,” said manager Bobby Valentine. “I’m just figuring out about him.”

Valentine has a connection to De Jesus. The player’s father, Ivan De Jesus, was a Dodgers prospect when Valentine played for Los Angeles.

“He comes from a baseball family,” Valentine said. “We’ll see what he can do for us.”

De Jesus is excited about getting to Fenway Park this weekend.

“It’s fun being with a team like the Red Sox after playing for the Dodgers,” he said. “Two historical teams, two teams with a lot of fans. Being from Puerto Rico, it’s closer to home for me. That’s great, too.

“My pastor in Puerto Rico is a blood Yankees fan. He called me and said he would still support me. I like East Coast. That’s my place. The weather is better for me. It’s a new time for me. I’m so glad I’m with this team now.”

Third catcher added

The Sox purchased Triple A catcher Guillermo Quiroz from Seattle and added him to the major league roster. The 30-year-old has played in 101 major league games, none since 2010.

Quiroz has been with the Blue Jays, Mariners (twice), Rangers, and Orioles. He is a career .208 hitter. He hit .278 with 15 homers and 52 RBIs for Triple A Tacoma this season and made the Pacific Coast League All-Star team.

“To have three catchers on the roster is always a good thing, especially when we’re trying to play two of them at a time,” said Valentine, referring to his use of Ryan Lavarnway and Jarrod Saltalamacchia as the designated hitter in recent weeks.

Quiroz was preparing to go home to Venezuela when he was informed of the trade.

“It felt pretty good,” he said. “I was shocked at the time.”

More of Mortensen

For the sixth time this season, the Red Sox called up righthanded reliever Clayton Mortensen. He was 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 19 appearances. Over 23 innings, he has allowed 24 hits and struck out 26.

Valentine likes what he has seen of Mortensen, who was obtained from the Rockies for Marco Scutaro in January. His frequent demotions were because of roster management, not performance.

“Throwing against the right kind of hitters, I think he’s very, very effective,” Valentine said.

“His pitches are different. It’s a different look than most everyone. He has a different cadence to his windup and his stretch.

“He has real good arm speed on all his pitches and his pitches move a little differently than others, his breaking pitches especially.”

Mortensen has had quite a travel schedule. He was with the Sox when they went from Boston to Anaheim Aug. 27. He was then demoted and traveled from California to New Hampshire to join Double A Portland Aug. 29.

After pitching in one game, he went from Portland to Seattle.

“I think I read 2½ books on all the flights,” said Mortensen, who likes David Baldacci novels. “I was proud of myself.”

Mortensen was optioned to Portland so he could rejoin the Sox more quickly. Under roster rules, a player optioned to the minors has to stay there 10 days or until that team’s season ends.

Portland is not in the Eastern League playoffs, so Mortensen was sent there instead of Triple A Pawtucket, which did qualify for the postseason in the International League.

On the mend

Lefthander Franklin Morales, on the disabled list with shoulder weakness, threw in the outfield before the game and felt fine. “Going to start building him back up to game situations,” said Valentine, who wants to give Morales another start or two before the end of the season. Morales is eager to get back and add to what has been a good season. “My shoulder feels good,” he said. “Hopefully in a little while I can pitch again.” . . . Righthanded reliever Scott Atchison (elbow) had a pain-free inning for Pawtucket Monday. He will stay with the Paw Sox for now and pitch in at least one more game before returning to the majors.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.

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