Red Sox acquire infielder Mike Aviles from Royals

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Worried about their infield depth with Jed Lowrie absent, the Red Sox acquired utilityman Mike Aviles from the Royals for infielder Yamaico Navarro and right-hander Kendal Volz on Saturday.

Aviles, who opened the season as the Royals’ primary third baseman, has hit .286/.317/.417 in 1,148 at-bats over the last four seasons.  He’s capable of playing shortstop in addition to second and third, though he’s not really an asset there.  What he does do is pummel lefties: he’s hit .296/.343/.464 against them in his career.

To bring in the insurance policy, the Red Sox surrendered Navarro, a 23-year-old who took a big step forward last year to turn himself into a candidate to start in the majors.  He had spent some time on Boston’s bench this year, hitting .216/.275/.351 in 37 at-bats.  Much more encouraging is his .265/.356/.486 line in 181 Triple-A at-bats the last two seasons.

Still, Navarro wasn’t ever likely to crack Boston’s lineup as a starter.  He may have more luck in Kansas City someday, though he will be behind Alcides Escobar at short and Mike Moustakas at third.  Having picked up some outfield time this year, he may prove to be a great fit in a super-utility role.

Volz didn’t rank among Boston’s better pitching prospects.  The 2009 ninth-round pick was moved to the pen at high-A Salem this year and had a 3.33 ERA and a 56/12 K/BB ratio in 51 1/3 innings.

Aviles will be arbitration eligible for the first time this winter.  The Red Sox will control his rights through 2014, so not only can he help out this year, but he can step in for free-agent-to-be Marco Scutaro next year.

The Giants are considering Pablo Sandoval at second base

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Pablo Sandoval could be tabbed to play second base in the near future, per a report from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Shea, Sandoval has been spotted taking grounders at second during pre-game warm-ups and may be considering switching to the keystone on a part-time basis.

It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing the 31-year-old corner infielder has done this year — that distinction goes to the flawless inning of relief he pitched in a blowout loss against the Dodgers last month. But it would represent a pretty notable departure from his comfort zone even so; Sandoval has primarily manned first and third base throughout his 11-year career in the majors and has also taken a few reps at DH during his resurgence with the Giants in 2018.

Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent switch for Sandoval. As Shea points out, the Giants are thin on middle infielders after losing Joe Panik to a torn UCL in his left thumb and backup Alen Hanson to a left hamstring strain. Provided he can get up to speed quickly (no easy feat, according to infield coach Ron Wotus), he’d give the club some added depth behind Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez until Panik is ready to take the field again. Sandoval has impressed at the plate this spring, batting a healthy .270/.329/.429 with six extra-base hits and a .757 through 70 plate appearances.