FORT MYERS, Fla. –– Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles was the victim of identity theft — on Twitter.
Shortly after Saturday's practice, the Twitter handle @MikeAviles3 released a tweet to report news of a new change.
"It's been a great journey down here in #Beantown my agent just confirmed I'm heading to Tampa to play with the Rays," @MikeAviles3 tweeted. "Miss you #Soxnation."
But there was one problem. That wasn't the shortstop's account and at that time, Aviles didn't even own a handle on the social networking site. It made for a surprise when he received the news.
"I was hanging out in my apartment watching TV until I got a couple phone calls and a couple text messages asking me if [the trade] was true," Aviles said. "I didn't know what anyone was talking about. Just somebody made up a fake thing."
Aviles had been planning on opening an account through his agent, so when he learned of the trade news through friends, the 30-year-old assumed that the process was accelerated.
"I said 'It might be [my account], but I have to ask my agent,'" Aviles said, recounting what he told family and friends. "Slowly but surely, some of things that was tweeted I knew it wasn't him."
His own teammates were fooled. Cody Ross, Darnell McDonald and Adrian Gonzalez were all following the fake account. Ross actually tweeted back, while Will Middlebrooks privately texted Aviles to confirm the news.
After shooting down the rumors, Aviles and his agent quickly opened up a new account with the handle @themikeaviles. His agent will be tweeting in his place during spring training as he competes for the Red Sox' shortstop job.
Either way, Aviles was somewhat flattered that a person would take time out of their day to impersonate him.
"It was cool," he said, laughing. "Thanks for the headache."
The shortstop plans to take over his official account "within a week."