The hype surrounding Jose Iglesias has died down a bit, but the young shortstop’s confidence is as high as ever.
Iglesias said that he is entering spring training on the heels of the best offseason of his life, according to ESPN.com’s Joe McDonald. Iglesias won’t start the season as Boston’s everyday shortstop now that Stephen Drew is in the mix, but 23-year-old is excited to keep growing as a player.
“It was a great offseason. I’m so happy to have that offseason,” Iglesias said, according to WEEI.com. “[Dustin Pedroia] gave me some advice how to work every single day consistently. That’s exactly what I did. Physically, now, I see some big changes. I’m really happy where I’m at. I learned a lot [about what it takes to play a full season] last year. Especially in September, when I got a chance to play here almost every day. Last year is over. We learned from it to get better in 2013.”
Iglesias struggled during his time in the majors last season, hitting just .118 (8-for-68) in 25 games. However, he still came away from what was a disappointing season for everyone on the Red Sox with plenty of newfound knowledge.
“I got a little taste to see what you need to improve, what you’ve got to do to help this team win ballgames,” Iglesias reportedly said. “It was a tough moment last year for us, but we learned from it — especially me, myself. I think this year I prepared myself to be in a good position and to have that experience.
“I think every year, I’m growing as a player, growing as a human being, growing as a man. So I’ve got a better idea of what I’ve got to improve, a better idea of what I have to do to be a better player. It was big for me. I only played about a month, 60 AB’s, so I don’t really think about that. I take the opportunity to learn and experience, that was my goal. It was not my goal to hit .300 in September. It was my goal to learn something every day. So, I think it was a good September — even if I didn’t have great numbers, I did my best everyday and I take that experience to this year.”
Iglesias’ name was tossed around last offseason in connection with the team’s starting shortstop job. The Red Sox ultimately elected to go with Mike Aviles, though, feeling that Iglesias needed some more Triple-A seasoning before making the leap to an everyday role in the bigs. This offseason, the Sox still weren’t ready to hand the keys over to Iglesias. But while the Cuban admits that it was a bit surprising to see the team sign Drew, he was by no means disappointed with the signing.
“That surprised me because I was looking on the computer and I found out that way. But after that, that’s fine. Whatever works for the team,” Iglesias reportedly said. “Whatever helps this team win ballgames, that’s why we’re here — to make this team better and to get better here every day.”
Iglesias, known for his stellar defense up the middle, hit .266 with a home run and 23 RBIs in 88 games with Triple-A Pawtucket last season.
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