There’s a decidedly Boston flavor to the Indianapolis lineup. Pedro Alvarez was originally drafted by the Red Sox in 2005 before deciding to go to Vanderbilt, where he starred for three years. The Pirates made him a #1 pick in 2008. Argenis Diaz came up through the Sox system before he was dealt to the Pirates last year for Adam LaRoche. Of course, there’s Brandon Moss, traded to Pittsburgh in the Jason Bay deal. And then there’s Jonathan Van Every. JV was an All Star with the PawSox in 2008 and also made his M.L. debut that year. He signed with the Pirates as a free agent before the 2010 season. He has been able to do anything but settle in since the season began.
He is, for the moment, living and playing in the capital city of Indiana. “Indianapolis is a great city. There’s a lot of good guys on this team. We have a great coaching staff. We’ve won a couple of games here lately and hopefully it will continue. I know PawSox fans won’t want to hear that, but we’re trying to put a good product on the field.”
Van Every had to take a deep breath as he recounted his travels and many stops in the first few months of the season. “Starting at Spring Training, there’s a lot of talented guys here, I got kind of pushed to the back burner a bit and wasn’t playing a lot. The Red Sox had a need in the outfield and acquired me (on April 28) for a player to be named later. About a month later (May 31) Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury came off the disabled list and I was the odd man out, as I knew I would be. I got designated (for assignment). I really didn’t know the logistics of the deal between Pittsburgh and Boston. I sat around for a while and ended up flying home (to Mississippi). As soon as I got there, I got a call from Mike Hazen telling me I was sent back to Pittsburgh. I had to fly back to Boston, then drive to Indianapolis which is about 1000 miles. I then had to hop a flight to Atlanta, hit leadoff and play centerfield that night against the Gwinnett Braves. It was eventful. I almost got traded for myself, so to speak. Kind of crazy. I’m happy to be back here with a great group of guys, playing every day.”
JV has better than fond memories of his time in the Sox organization. “The Red Sox will always be close to my heart because they gave me an opportunity, they saw some talent in me and they saw that I was capable of succeeeding at the big league level. For that, I’ll be eternally grateful, no matter how the rest of my career pans out. I do have my jersey from my first game framed with a lineup card, just as a reminder. Those guys up there- Tito, Theo and Hazen, I have the utmost respect for all of them.”
There is no doubt that Jonathan earned his promotions to Boston in ’08 and ’09, but he admitted it was surreal finding himself back in the Fenway clubhouse this year. “It was beyond shock. When I walked into the clubhouse and into Tito’s office, I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say. He sat there smiling, a big grin on his face and asked ‘what do ya think?’ I said nothing. I told him words couldn’t describe my feelings. It was great to be back there with a lot of the same guys. Hopefully, they’ll win some games and I can get some hardware from it somewhere down the road.”
When Van Every was with the PawSox, he played for Ron Johnson, currently the first base coach for the Red Sox. Prior to that JV played for the Buffalo Bisons, where his manager is current Pawtucket skipper, Torey Lovullo. Van Every loves them both. “RJ’s a players’ manager and Torey is the same way. I was coming up through the Cleveland system as a player and he (Torey) was coming up as a manager. At every level, he was great. Always had an open door policy. Joked around, almost like one of the guys but was always in control. Everyone had the most respect for him. I’ve been lucky with managers with guys like Ron Johnson and Torey. I’ve been blessed.”
Jonathan Van Every is a good hitter and a tremendously gifted centerfielder. He wasn’t going to have any mixed emotions, though, as he faced the PawSox for the first time since he starred for them. “It’ll be strange. You play with those guys. You get to know them on and off the field. You get used to playing with them and behind them. It’ll be different, but life goes on. You have to compete, no matter who’s out there, and do your best.”