BOSTON -- The wait finally is over for Red Sox infielder Jonathan Diaz.
After being taken in the 12th round of the 2006 MLB draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, the 28-year-old Diaz is making his major league debut against his former team on Saturday. To make room for Diaz on the roster, the Red Sox designated RHP Clayton Mortensen for assignment.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Diaz said before the game. “You can imagine something you work for your whole life. You actually get the opportunity to do it and it’s just very exciting.”
Diaz signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox in January before breaking camp with the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. After a slow start with only four hits in the month of April, Diaz has turned it on of late, hitting .286 in May and June combined.
“Baseball’s a hard sport so you just try to stay positive and you never know what’s going to happen, so I just try to keep my work ethic up and play hard,” Diaz said.
Manager John Farrell considered that work ethic when deciding to put Diaz in the lineup, batting ninth and playing third base. In his two years as Toronto’s manager, Farrell had gained a familiarity with the infielder’s style of play.
“This is a guy that’s worked probably seven to eight years to get to the big leagues,” Farrell said. “He’s a smart player and he knows what the expectations are of us.”
Diaz echoed that sentiment.
“I know I’m the kind of guy with the kind of game they like to be played,” he said. “I’m going to try to play that game.”
Moving forward, the Red Sox will plan to use Diaz as an infield option while shortstop Stephen Drew recovers from tightness in his right hamstring that forced him out of Friday night’s game. Diaz has played at second, third and shortstop (and even pitched a scoreless inning of relief) with the PawSox this season.
“[I’m just going to] try and get out there and help the team win,” Diaz said.
For now, Diaz is focused on enjoying the moment, one that he’s worked eight hard years in the minor leagues to accomplish. In front of his family, wife and three kids on Saturday, the 28-year-old will be looking to keep his emotions in check as he takes the field.
“It’s excitement, it’s overjoyed, it’s a sense of accomplishment. Finally, after so many years of working hard and stuff. It’s a hard feeling to describe.”