CHICAGO -- Boston's first trading-deadline deal this year did not involve a pitcher, but a utility infielder whose value to the team may become clearer by next season.
The Red Sox acquired veteran infielder Mike Aviles from the Kansas City Royals for infielder Yamaico Navarro and minor-league pitcher Kendal Volz, the teams announced Saturday afternoon. Navarro left U.S. Cellular Field by taxi at about 2:15 p.m., headed to join the Royals. Aviles said he arrived at the Red Sox game in Chicago around the third inning and replaced Kevin Youkilis at third base for the ninth inning of Boston's 10-2 win over the White Sox.
Aviles had expressed some discontent this week about being a backup in Kansas City. That won't be an issue here, he said.
"The situation here is completely different," he said. "We're in first place, and we have an opportunity to win a world championship. It's going to take more than 25 guys to do that, so I'm more than happy to be one of those guys.
"It's definitely a different atmosphere," he said. "When I was over there, we were having tough seasons, and now I'm on a team where every year, you're in contention. It's definitely a good thing for me, and, hopefully, it's going to be the best thing for me."
Aviles provides some veteran insurance in case Jed Lowrie's rehab stint is stalled for any reason, though Red Sox manager Terry Francona insisted that, if anything, Lowrie is probably ahead of schedule. Lowrie will begin a rehab assignment Monday in Pawtucket.
Francona also suggested that the addition of Aviles, 30, may bear fruit in the future. Marco Scutaro's contract expires after this season, so the Sox may have put his replacement in place. Francona also said the Sox want to see whether Aviles can play the outfield.
Aviles said he hadn't played outfield since summer ball when he was still in college, but was willing to give it a try.
"He's kind of a guy I think the organization has liked from afar for a while,'' Francona said. "He's a guy who can really hit left-handers, and play second, third, short. Then he had the arm surgery, kind of slowed him down, derailed him for a while, but he can run, hit the ball out of the ballpark. How we would use him, I don't know.
"Some of that depends on Jed. Jed's not too far away. At some point, we'd like to get him to the outfield, because I think we think he can do it. He hasn't done that yet, we'll see.
"I think sometimes we get so caught up in who's going to help us tomorrow, and maybe there's times where things happen where he can help us down the road, like Salty [Jarrod Saltalamacchia] last year.
Aviles finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting in 2008, when he batted .325 for the Royals. But he strained his forearm playing for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic and underwent Tommy John elbow surgery after the 2009 season. He rebounded to bat .304 in 110 games for the Royals last season, when he played primarily second base, but this year found playing time tough to come by, as he played behind Chris Getz at second, Alcides Escobar at short and Mike Moustakas at third.
"He'll help them,'' one major-league executive said shortly after the announcement of the trade. "He can swing the bat, especially against lefties.''
Navarro, who hit .216 in 16 games for the Sox this season, was informed of the trade in a phone call from Francona while taking a cab to the ballpark. Francona then met with the player and batting coach Dave Magadan, who translated in Spanish.
"I think it's good for him,'' Francona said. "He was a little surprised. I think he'll probably get a chance to play more there than here. Certainly wish him well.''
Volz, who was drafted on the ninth round by the Sox out of Baylor in 2009, has been pitching in relief for Class A Salem, where he had a 3.33 ERA in 31 games, with 56 strikeouts and 12 walks in 51 1/3 innings.