Boston Red Sox shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias is on the verge of becoming a full-time player at the big-league level, and second baseman Dustin Pedroia wants to make sure his future double-play partner is ready. So, this winter, Pedroia invited Iglesias to work out with him in Arizona.
Iglesias confirmed via text message to ESPNBoston.com that Monday was the first time this offseason he’s worked out with Pedroia. Iglesias has spent portions of past winters with Red Sox veterans, including shortstop Marco Scutaro prior to the 2011 season.
During Iglesias' first big-league camp in 2010, it didn’t take long for players like Pedroia, Scutaro and David Ortiz to take an interest in the young phenom’s development. Since then, Iglesias has improved with the help of the club’s veteran players.
"It’s like a family,” Iglesias said during spring training last year. “All the guys on the team tried to help me, and not just me, but every young guy, and that’s a good thing.”
When it was apparent that the Sox would miss the postseason for the third consecutive year in 2012, Iglesias, 22, was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on Aug. 25 and played 25 games for Boston. He finished with a .118 batting average with one home run and two RBIs.
He is undoubtedly ready for the big leagues from a defensive standpoint, but his offense needs to improve.
“We think Jose is ready to help a major league team, depending what the rest of the team looks like,” said Red Sox GM Ben Cherington recently. “If we feel like we need to build some protection in that area as the offseason goes on, we’ll consider that. Nobody’s going to be given anything. If he’s given an opportunity to win the job in spring training, then he’ll have to win it out.”
While he’s with Pedroia this winter, Iglesias will work on his strength and conditioning.
“We’ve talked to him a lot about his offseason and about the importance of a good offseason from a strength standpoint,” Cherington said. “He has a plan in place and people he’s working with.”