Iglesias makes first start at 3B for PawSox

CHICAGO -- Jose Iglesias has played 334 games in professional baseball since defecting from Cuba, including 41 in the big leagues.

Tuesday afternoon in Pawtucket, the 23-year-old Iglesias played his first-ever game at third base, which improbably could be his ticket back to the big leagues.

No, the Sox are not planning to convert Iglesias to third baseman. If they do so with any of their shortstop prospects, it would be Xander Bogaerts, who has the build and power to play a corner position. But as Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reported on Monday, the PawSox began having Iglesias taking groundballs at second -- a position he told reporters he has played in Cuba -- and at third, an entirely new position for him.

The idea, Red Sox manager John Farrell said here Tuesday, is to increase Iglesias' versatility in the event they need to call up a backup infielder. Earlier this season, when there was some question as to whether third baseman Will Middlebrooks would be able to play with sore ribs, infielder Brock Holt was on standby in case the Sox needed to summon another player.

"Not unlike other guys that have come to the big leagues, Jed Lowrie, for example, is another guy we exposed to multiple positions, we're looking to do the same with Jose right now," Farrell said. "In the event something happens to someone, prepare the best we can if he comes to us in a role we might call on his versatility.

"We know he can play shortstop. If we get him consecutive days, multiple days at second or third [we'll do so]," he said.

The Red Sox have a veteran infielder who can play second, third and short in Drew Sutton, but he was on the disabled list earlier this month with Pawtucket after straining a muscle in his side. Iglesias would give them another option.

Iglesias made an error at third Tuesday. He also singled and walked after hitting a home run on Monday.

He is batting .209 overall.

* Daniel Bard is throwing only side sessions for Double-A Portland for the time being, Farrell said. No time has been set for him to return to game action, but he remains on the active roster.

* David Ross, who continues his recovery from concussive symptoms, will be sent on a brief rehab assignment before the end of the week, Farrell said.

* Shane Victorino remains day to day with a left hamstring strain. The Sox are holding off on any move to the DL.