It's the time-honored story of a player going down to an injury, then running the risk of losing a starting spot when an upstart lights it up in his place. The Red Sox now find themselves in that position.
It's not quite Tom Brady stealing the spotlight from Drew Bledsoe, but the Red Sox could have a bit of a position battle brewing in their infield, thanks to the emergence of one Pedro Ciriaco.
It's no secret that Ciriaco has been hot lately, but Mike Aviles has been the team's shortstop all year long and performed admirably. After spending the offseason preparing to play outfield, Aviles was inserted into the Opening Day lineup at short and hasn't looked out of place much at all.
Since being called up in July, the wiry Ciriaco has been a firecracker for the Sox. He's batting .329 with 10 RBIs in only 22 games, and has also proven himself on the big stage by gaining a reputation as a Yankee Killer. Aviles, on the other hand, is batting .255 with 51 RBIs this year and has been struggling at the plate recently.
After sitting out the last few games while battling turf toe, Aviles is back in the lineup. On the one hand, it would be unfair to have a player lose his starting job because of an injury. On the other, riding the hot hand at an infield position has worked out for the Red Sox already this year.
With 55 games remaining in the 2012 regular season, there will be 55 decisions for Bobby Valentine and the Red Sox management to make. Which way should they be leaning?