Eric the Red (Sox) 'excited'

MIKE RUTSEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Eric Hinske is excited.

And why shouldn't he be?

For the first time in a long time, Hinske is playing for a team that values his presence.

Traded to the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later and cash considerations -- the Jays will pay $2.8 million US, or half of his 2007 salary -- Hinske will be starting in right field today in Fenway in the first of a key five-game series against the New York Yankees.

"Yeah, I'm excited about the trade," Hinske said yesterday when reached by phone. "I'm not disappointed at all. I've got a change of scenery and I'm going to Boston."

He admitted being surprised to be moving to a division rival.

"You don't see that too often. Teams are kind of reluctant to trade within their division, but J.P. (Ricciardi) is out from under some salary so that's the business side of it."

Hinske, 29, who was American League rookie of the year in 2002 with the Jays, was pumped after talking with his new manager, Terry Francona, and general manager, Theo Epstein.

"They told me they wanted me and that I'd be playing some right field, first base and third base," Hinske said. "They told me I'd be playing (today) in right field in the first game (of a doubleheader).

"I think it's cool. I'm going to one of the biggest markets to one of the most well known franchises.

"It's a fresh start and sometimes a change of scenery does a lot when somebody wants you. I think trades are a good thing and I have nothing but good things to say."

That doesn't mean he is down on the Blue Jays organization. He says he was treated fairly and enjoyed his time with Toronto.

"I have nothing bad to say about Toronto and the organization," he said.

"J.P. is a cool guy and today I got a call from Paul Godfrey (the Jays president and CEO) and I appreciated that. I'm leaving on good terms."

Although Hinske went from being an everyday player to a utility role, he never hung his head, moaned or complained.

"I looked at that as something that was out of my control," he said. "When I lost my starting job, I accepted it. You can either be professional about it or not and I chose to be professional.

"I mean, I'm sad to leave the guys and all, but this is a business and it's time to move on."

He was asked if he had any parting message for the fans.

"I'll say this, they didn't boo me too bad," he said with a laugh.


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