Jonathan Van Every got three hours of sleep Friday night before flying from Indianapolis to Boston on a late-morning flight and beginning a job with an uncertain role. Sounds like a rough stretch for most, but he's not complaining.
In fact, he's grinning from ear to ear.
"It's pretty exciting," said Van Every, who was re-acquired by the Red Sox in a trade with Pittsburgh early Saturday. "I'm really speechless, I don't know what to say…This was the last thing I pictured in my head, but it's good to be back."
Van Every, 30, spent two years in the Boston organization, appearing in 18 games with the big club between 2008 and 2009 before signing with Pittsburgh as a minor league free agent. He will be recalled in these parts for a memorable go-ahead home run in the top of the 10th inning last April 29 at Cleveland, the decisive blow in a 6-5 win.
Through a 10-year career in three different organizations, that moment ranks right up there for Van Every.
"That's definitely still at the top of my career," he said. "Hitting a game-winning home run for a team like the Red Sox in a big series against the Indians, against a team I had played for for so long, it's tough to top that. Hopefully I'll find a way to do that."
Van Every, who was hitting .314 with a pair of homers for the Pirates' Triple-A club in Indianapolis, said he never wanted to leave Boston. But when he heard the news that Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron had been put on the disabled list the same day, he had an idea that a return trip could be possible.
The Red Sox had brought up both Josh Reddick and Darnell McDonald to take those roster spots, but Reddick was being used sparingly, not the best role for a rising star in the organization.
"There was no way we wanted [Reddick] sitting here," manager Terry Francona said. "You get a guy [in Van Every] with a little more experience that does a lot of the same things but if he's in and out it's not affecting his progress. We don't want anything to get in the way of Reddick's development. He needs consistent at bats."
Van Every's 2009 season was cut short due to knee surgery. He says he is completely recovered and will be able to help in a number of roles for the Red Sox. In his first Boston stint, the Mississippi native played all three outfield positions and once even pitched, although that was only in an emergency situation.
Perhaps recalling that April night in Tampa Bay when he had to use Van Every to get the last two outs of an ugly rout, Francona positively gushed about his newest addition.
"He's one of the best kids ever," Francona said. "He can play all of the outfield positions, give us some athleticism. He'll always be ready to play. Hopefully he'll run into a few balls."