FORT MYERS, Fla. -- At the start of spring training each year most players are in shape, the result of working out all winter.
Red Sox shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias arrived here early and appears ready to impress. But while Iglesias is still considered a good prospect, the 23-year-old is no longer a sure bet to become the future shortstop for the Red Sox, which is one of the reasons the team signed veteran infielder Stephen Drew to a one-year deal this winter.
Plus, fellow shortstops Xander Bogaerts and Deven Marrero are considered top prospects in the organization. Knowing that he’s not guaranteed a job in the big leagues, Iglesias worked hard this offseason and gained nearly nine pounds in muscle mass, while dropping his body fat.
“I had the best offseason of my life,” Iglesias said before he went out Tuesday morning for batting practice and infield with veteran second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
During the winter, Pedroia invited Iglesias to work out in Arizona for a few days.
“I worked out with Pedey and he gave me some advice. That was big for my offseason,” Iglesias said. “I feel so much more confident because I put in the work.”
His mindset coming into camp is a bit different than it has been in the past.
“Patience and just try to be consistent with my routine,” he said. “I had a great offseason and staying healthy is the most important thing for me in 2013.”
Iglesias admits he was a bit surprised when the Red Sox signed Drew, but it served as motivation to prepare for the upcoming season.
“I can’t control that,” Iglesias said of the Drew signing. “They’re going to do whatever is better for the team. I’ve got to work harder. I’ve got to put myself in a good position to be a better player and help this team win some ballgames.”
When it was apparent last summer that the Red Sox would not make the playoffs, the team recalled Iglesias from Triple-A Pawtucket on Aug. 25 and he played 25 games for Boston. He finished with a .118 average with one home run and two RBI.
“Every day I learned something playing at the big league level,” he said. “You always learn stuff being around these guys. In September, I had a tough time hitting, so I learned from that a lot. I learned from last year and it’ll make me better.”