08/20/2012 10:39 AM ET
Brent Lillibridge: Eight crazy days
Indians utility man went from Chicago to Boston to Cleveland
This season on the whole has been a whirlwind for me, but it really hit a high during the month of July when -- over a course of just eight days -- I played for three different big league teams.
At the start of the year, I was with the White Sox. It was my fourth season in Chicago, and it was a pretty crazy feeling to get traded to Boston. With the Red Sox, I figured once I got there that I would be with them the rest of the season. But before I knew it, I was traded to the Indians. Right now, I am very happy playing for Cleveland.
With the Red Sox, I went there to play hard for the team and to take advantage of my opportunities. I ended up being the odd man out, so to speak, and they ultimately designated me for assignment before working out a trade with Cleveland. It was one long month. I wasn't very comfortable. I was trying to figure out a lot of things, and I really didn't know where I was going to end up next. It is all part of the game, though.
When you are designated for assignment, you learn right away that it doesn't mean it is the end of your career. That move allows other clubs to take a good, long look at you, and it can really work out well for a player.
Being with Chicago, I saw a lot of change. I was there when Ozzie Guillen was managing, and also had Robin Ventura as my skipper there this year. I was really liking where the team was going, and I felt a big part of the organization. We ended up with a lot of right-handed batters and the opportunities weren't coming my way as a bench guy. They gave me an opportunity by moving me to Boston, and now I have moved to Cleveland and have found a nice home.
I got the news that I had been traded to Boston during a game. It was the ninth inning when the trade was completed, and Robin called me over on the bench and told me to take it easy for a little while. He told me that I had been traded, but he didn't know all the information. About an hour later, I was talking to [White Sox general manager] Kenny Williams, and I was in Boston as Kevin Youkilis was going to Chicago.
When I got to Boston, it ended up not being the best fit. They had a lot of guys who were injured at the time. As they were recovering, there were also a lot of good, young players in their Minor League system who were proving themselves. They wanted to stick with them, and I -- being a newer guy who they did not know too much about -- was the odd man out. In the end, though, you learn to trust where you are supposed to be. God is going to lead you in the right direction, and you are not going to fight it.
It was a long eight days, but I feel really good about how things have ended up. I like this organization. I like the coaching staff, and I hope that I can flourish here. This is like an audition for me. If I play well, it is going to help me out now and for next year.
In the end, you have to produce. You can talk about being new and about bouncing around, but those are just excuses. It is about going out there and playing and competing. If you do well and put up good numbers, you are going to have a chance at a job somewhere.
It is my job to impress and to play my game. I hope I can play an important role on this team for this year, next year and for many years to come. I like where this team is going.
Utility infielder/outfielder Brent Lillibridge has played in more than 300 games during his five-year big league career. He originally broke in with Atlanta in 2008, and since, he has played exclusively in the American League.