Mike Aviles started off as the favorite to receive a bulk of the playing time at short this season. Not only does he provide veteran leadership, but he's seen as a bigger offensive threat than Jose Iglesias, who is also trying to stake claim to the starting role.
However, Iglesias' defensive ability makes him not only an intriguing prospect, but someone who could be in line for a major league role out of the gate. When you consider the weapons the Red Sox already have in their lineup, they might be able to compensate for any offensive struggles Iglesias could have early on this season.
Generally, spring training stats don't mean a whole lot, and they may not when it comes time for Bobby Valentine to write up his Opening Day lineup card. However, when you have a neck-and-neck positional battle, they're at least worth noting.
Aviles entered Saturday's action hitting .263 (10-for-38) with three RBIs this spring, while the 22-year-old Iglesias was hitting .200 (4-for-20) with four RBIs.
Nick Punto also figures to get some playing time in the middle of the Red Sox infield, but it looks like it's a two-horse race for the starting shortstop gig. Which horse will cross the finish line first?