Iglesias handles demotion like a pro

PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- When the Boston Red Sox signed veteran shortstop Stephen Drew during the offseason, prospect Jose Iglesias knew he would be playing at Triple-A Pawtucket during the 2013 season.

It really didn't matter how well he played during spring training, because as long as Drew was healthy, Iglesias would not be the starting shortstop. That plan changed when Drew suffered a concussion during spring training and landed on the disabled list. Plus, Iglesias did play well during the Grapefruit League season, so with Drew sidelined, Iglesias made the Opening Day roster and started at shortstop.

However, Drew was activated from the seven-day DL prior to Wednesday's game, and Iglesias was optioned to Pawtucket.

"I was disappointed, but it's out of my control," Iglesias said. "All I can do is come to the field, be a better player, take extra BP, learn something every day and be a better player. When I get another opportunity, I will be better that time."

Iglesias' two-run homer in the bottom of the third inning helped the PawSox to a 5-4 win over the Rochester Red Wings on Thursday night at McCoy Stadium.

"Fun," he said of his first home run of the season. "It was a good pitch in and I was able stay inside the ball and hit a homer for the team. It was fun."

He finished the night 1-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

"I'm going to come here and give 100 percent every single day," he said. "I'm going to take extra BP and I'm going to get better every single day."

Iglesias went 9-for-20 (.450) with two doubles and one RBI with three strikeouts in six games for the Red Sox.

"It was hard to leave the team, but I had a good time," he said. "My first Opening Day in the big leagues, it was exciting. It was fun to win; we won a lot of games when I was there. I enjoyed it and it was great to be there."

Red Sox manager John Farrell told Iglesias during the Sox's off day on Tuesday that he was being optioned. The PawSox concluded their first road trip of the season at Lehigh Valley Wednesday and returned to McCoy Stadium early Thursday morning. While PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina allowed the players to arrive to the ballpark a little later than normal, Iglesias was already here and going about his normal routine.

"He took the news about coming down very professionally," DiSarcina said. "He's had a great attitude since he walked through the door. The point of emphasis is to get him the hell out of here and get him back up there. That's the ultimate goal; we don't want these guys down here. Every now and then in baseball things happen. He performed really well up there, Stephen came back and that's the way the game is. I just want him to maintain and grow as a player."

When the clubhouse opened to the media, Iglesias was eating lunch with Red Sox veteran David Ortiz, who began his minor league rehab stint with the PawSox on Thursday. Ortiz has been a mentor ever since Iglesias signed with the Red Sox as an international free agent in 2009. For Iglesias, and the Boston Red Sox, it was good timing to have Ortiz here in order to help the prospect understand the situation and make sure he handles it properly.

"Iggy is like a son to me," Ortiz said. "Man, I'm old. I always talk to him, and I always let him know how hard this game goes. Sometimes this situation is going to happen, you've got options and the team's got to make a move. What you've got to do is come down here, keep on working hard and the minute the team has the opportunity to need somebody, they'll call you up. But you've got to keep in mind that you've got to come here and bust your tail just like you were doing in the big leagues and everything's going to come true easier."

Iglesias finally proved he can handle the big league level during the small sample size this season, but he'll need to continue that progress with the PawSox until he gets another opportunity in Boston.

"I've got a better idea with what I need to do in the field, that's the bottom line," he said. "I grow as a player and a person every day, every year. I feel ready what I need to do."