Mike Aviles should probably feel angry.
He was the Royals' Player of the Year in 2008, worked hard to come back ahead of schedule after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2009, and was just demoted a week into the 2010 season after getting the sum total of one at-bat. So yes, the Royals would understand if Mike Aviles were angry.
"Sure, I would be completely empathetic with feelings of anger reverberating from Mikey," offered Royals' manager Trey Hillman when questioned about the move late Sunday night, "still, he understands that we can't afford to press the envelope at this point, and that he can get more at-bats in Omaha."
There remains some uncertaintly about the strength of Aviles' arm, and this is the driving motivation behind him taking the long bus ride down according to top Royals' brass.
"You know, when it comes to Mike, we have to be extremely intelligent moving and wise acting," said Royals' GM Dayton Moore via telephone, "we view him as a large piece of our depth . . . a player that can switch between the minors and majors while assuming a sturdy back-up role . . . in many ways, he reminds my scouts as a slightly less gritty, slower version of (Willie) Bloomquist, so he's certainly somebody we're trying to massage back onto the roster."
Of course, with Dayton Moore acquistion Yuniesky Betancourt filling Aviles' one time role at shortstop, and recently purchased bullpen ace Luis Mendoza filling another roster spot, the question becomes one of where Aviles will play, if not when.
Moore sees Aviles filling a backup role, coming in off the bench as a defensive specialist: "Once we get his arm back at full strength, which, should not take longer than 2 to 3 months at Omaha, we envision implementation of a reacclimation process to the major league atmosphere via a backup role . . . at designated hitter or first base . . . his bunt-ability plays well down in the lineup."
While a back-up role is a dramatic departure from the position of everyday offensive centerpiece that Aviles enjoyed in 2008, he himself seems to have nearly no qualms or concerns over the move.
"Honestly, I can't be surprised," Aviles said with a curiously sly grin while packing up his locker Sunday night. "The Royals have acquired a superstar caliber talent to play at shortstop, and it was my own stupid fault that I got hurt. If I had better lateral range, or better handed-ness, there wouldn't have been the need to strain my arm making plays so deep in the hole . . . this was really something I brought onto myself, this was something Dayton (Moore) explained to me via text message and I completely understand. . . honestly, I can't wait to get back to Omaha."