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Kinsler eager to provide steady presence at 2nd

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- The first thing that jumped out at Ian Kinsler when he was informed late Monday night he was moving from the Angels to the Red Sox?

"Best team in baseball," Kinsler said. "That was the first thought. Excited to get here."

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BOSTON -- The first thing that jumped out at Ian Kinsler when he was informed late Monday night he was moving from the Angels to the Red Sox?

"Best team in baseball," Kinsler said. "That was the first thought. Excited to get here."

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Less than 24 hours after the trade, Kinsler had already arrived at Fenway Park. He started at second base and batted sixth, going 1-for-4 in Tuesday night's 3-1 loss to the Phillies.

And in his second at-bat with his new team, Kinsler banged a single to right field. Moments later, he drew an errant pickoff throw from Phillies righty Jake Arrieta and roared to third base.

"Defensively, everybody knows what he can do. Metrics-wise, I think he's either one or two defensively at second base," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "Turns a good double play. Has good instincts. But honestly, we talked about it yesterday, I do feel that offensively he's going to help us.

"When we play him we're probably going to hit him sixth. He's a guy that makes a lot of contact, and as you guys know, from one through five we're going to have a lot of traffic. We're a more athletic, better team defensively today, and deeper."

Video: Dombrowski breaks down Red Sox making Kinsler deal

As Red Sox fans will soon learn, Kinsler is the ultimate gamer.

"I was in Tampa at the time [of the trade] and we had a day off yesterday so I wasn't too far away," Kinsler said. "It was a pretty easy trip this morning. I think it's more pressure on my wife than me, so she takes the brunt of it. I know we have a day off tomorrow, so I didn't want three days in a row off."

At least while Rafael Devers remains on the disabled list with a left hamstring injury, Kinsler won't be off very often, which is just how he likes it. When Devers comes back, there will be more of a rotation system with Brock Holt or Eduardo Nunez sometimes playing instead of Kinsler.

But Kinsler will be out there the majority of the time, giving the Red Sox a steady veteran presence in the middle of the infield.

"I'll help anyway I can," said Kinsler. "Defensively, on base, make things happen, just try to help every night. Score a run, drive a run in, make a good play, do something positive."

The loss of Dustin Pedroia, who is iffy to play again in 2018 due to ongoing left knee woes, made it necessary for the Red Sox to add a piece like Kinsler. Back in '02, Pedroia beat Kinsler out to be the starting shortstop at Arizona State, and Kinsler transferred to the University of Missouri. In the ensuing years, the two players who are very similar in style have developed a healthy respect for each other.

"I mean, it's full circle," Kinsler said. "We get along, we talk when we see each other, when we played against each other and we know each other pretty well, and it's definitely full circle. I wish he gets healthy quickly and gets back in the clubhouse, for sure."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Ian Kinsler