Danny Valencia excited to make first start for Red Sox

CLEVELAND – An interesting week for Red Sox third baseman Danny Valencia ends with him in the starting lineup for the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon.

It started last Sunday when the Sox acquired Valencia in an August waiver trade with the Minnesota Twins, and continued when the corner infielder joined the Pawtucket Red Sox to play against Minnesota’s Triple-A club in Rochester for a pair of games. When Will Middlebrooks went down with the fractured right wrist, Ben Cherington’s prudent depth acquisition was called up to the big club. On Sunday, he is batting eighth between Mike Aviles and Kelly Shoppach.

To say it’s been a dizzying flurry of moves for Valencia this week would be an understatement.

“It’s been crazy. I went back to playing against my old team in Triple-A and now I’m here. But I’m ready to go and excited to play,” Valencia said. “I feel bad for [Middlebrooks], but I just want to be able to start, come off the bench or do whatever is going to help this team win.”

Valencia hopped in for a few innings as a defensive replacement in Saturday night’s loss to the Tribe, and was asked whether he was happy to get his feet wet.

“I got them soaked out there,” said a smiling Valencia. “It was nice. You just want to get the early jitters out. I don’t really know anybody here, so it was good to get out there and stretch my legs a little bit.”

The Twins third baseman fell out of favor in Minnesota this season while struggling with a .198/.212/.310 line in 34 games following a horrendous April performance. That led to his trade away from the Twins, and Valencia is hoping it leads to a fresh beginning in Boston during their time of need.

He went 3-for-7 with a pair of doubles in his two games against Triple-A Rochester, and said he’s now beyond his early season struggles.  

“It’s nice to be able to start over and have a clean slate. It’s great to come and try to help a team that’s right in the middle of a playoff push,” said Valencia. “It feels good. It was definitely a rough April for me. They had guys come in and do a great job and there was no room for me anymore.

“But I’m over here now and it’s worked out for me. So that’s nice.”

Valencia will try to continue the “nice” story of his time with Boston in his starting debut against the Tribe on Sunday afternoon.

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