DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Shortstop Mike Aviles played all nine innings in the Red Sox' 3-3 tie with the Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon, notching a double to leadoff the game while making a key relay throw to gun down the potential go-ahead run at third in the seventh inning.
Aviles, who is in competition to earn the Red Sox' starting shortstop job, said he hadn't played nine innings at the position in March since his participation in the 2009 World Baseball Classic as a member of Team Puerto Rico.
"Out of all the positions, the one that feels the easiest for things to come back naturally has been short for me," he said. "It's one position I feel like I can take the least amount of reps and get the most comfortable quicker. Third, second or even the outfield, I feel like I have to take more reps to feel comfortable, whereas at short I can take a couple days of ground balls and feel right at home. I'm starting to feel more comfortable playing the game, pretty much."
The Red Sox totaled seven hits, one of which came off Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow, with Aviles' double serving as the only extra-base hit for the visitors.
Justin Germano got the start in place of the scratched Carlos Silva, allowing just one hit over two innings. He was followed by Justin Thomas, who surrendered three runs (2 earned) on two hits.
"He was a little up early," said Valentine of Germano. "He was hitting his corners a little better. Worked his curveball in. I think he's a very usable pitcher.
"Coming out of spring training I look for 10 starting pitchers and a whole bunch of relievers because before the year is over you're going to probably have to ask a few guys to come up. I think he is very usable in a starting role. I don't know if it's going to be on our team breaking camp, but he could."
Valentine had special praise for prospect Bryce Brentz, who came away with a hit in his only at-bat.
"I can tell you this, one kid is a little different. The Bryce kid, when the ball comes off his bat it's a little different," said Valentine of the outfielder, who hit 30 home runs between Single-A Salem and Greenville in 2011.
For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.
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