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Gonzalez and Cameron will play the numbers game for 23

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  December 6, 2010 05:29 PM

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Adrian Gonzalez wore No. 23 in San Diego. But he put on a jersey that was blank on the back when he was introduced today at Fenway Park

Gonzo wants No. 23 in Boston, too. But that the property of Mike Cameron and under the unwritten rules of baseball etiquette, he is under no obligation to give it up.

"I have 15 years in this league," Cameron said by phone from his home in Georgia. "They can't just take it from me."

But Mike is a reasonable fellow. He didn't even want 23, having worn 25 or 44 for most of his career. But Mike Lowell had 25 and wanted to keep it and Cameron didn't want to take 44, knowing that Jason Bay had worn it in 2009.

"That would have just started trouble," he said.

Now Cameron is willing to take 44 and give up 23 to Gonzalez. But there will have to be a little tribute.

"He's going to have 160 million ways to make me happy," Cameron said, laughing. "No, that's not me. I'll have him make a little donation to the Boys & Girls Club."

Cameron and Gonzalez played together in San Diego from 2006-07. Cameron predicts big things for the first baseman at Fenway Park.

"It's a perfect park for him because he can go to the other way or go down the line in right," Cameron said. "The guy is an all-around good player and he's going to make a big difference for us."

Cameron is glad the trade got done now as opposed to during the season.

"Now AG gets all winter and spring training to settle in and that's important," he said. "Plus we open up on the road. So by the time we get to Boston and he's dealing with the expectations, he'll have some games under his belt."

Cameron believes Gonzalez will make a smooth transition to the clubhouse as well.

"He's quiet but he's friendly, like Jason Bay," Cameron said. "People like him and he's bi-lingual, which helps. I think he's going to do fine."

Cameron said he "as close to 100 percent" as he can get after having surgery in August to repair the torn abdominal muscles that sidetracked his first season in Boston. A right-handed hitter with power, Cameron could play a key role for the Red Sox in 2011 in the outfield and as a DH.

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