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Jose Iglesias has been been a surprising early contributor to the Red Sox. But he remains, for now, a place-holder at shortstop. Stephen Drew is set to begin what is scheduled to be a four-game rehab assignment on Thursday with Double-A Portland, four weeks after he suffered a concussion when a fastball hit him squarely in the middle of his helmet.
Barring a setback, Drew likely will be activated next week, perhaps as soon as the Red Sox' home opener at Fenway Park on Monday. When he joins the big league team, Iglesias will head down to Triple-A Pawtucket. There's no gray area, no door ajar for the younger player to wedge himself into the Sox' lineup and to displace the veteran who signed a one-year, $9.5 million deal this offseason.
"We're certainly not going to take away from what Jose's done, but we signed a premium guy in the offseason to be our starting shortstop and we're not going to look at an injury to cause him to lose his job," said Sox manager John Farrell.
Why Iglesias' start won't alter Sox plans at SS
As a card carrying member of the Jose Iglesias fan club, this is disappointing to hear even if it was bound to happen. He's off to a hot start right out the gate, going 5-for-9 at the plate on top of his usual stellar play at short. But we all knew he was on borrowed time. Stephen Drew will be heading down to Portland to start his rehab stint and all signs point to him returning for the home opener on Monday.
Iglesias is continuing to evolve as a hitter. He looks more comfortable at the plate and it's amazing to see him be agressive with the bunts and use his speed to his advantage. One can only hope that he can continue to hit up in Toronto and at least make Farrell think twice about sending him down to AAA. Worst case scenario, Iglesias has a huge confidence boost and continues to work down in Pawtucket and prove he can be consistent at the plate.
This isn't a knock on Drew either. When he's healthy, he can bring some pop from the left side of the plate and is able to hold his own defensively, which is why the Sox spent $9.5 million on him. But with the way Iglesias has played thus far, you can see why they only signed Drew for one year.
Rest of the Links: Globe: Buchholz quiets Yankees | Ortiz, Drew making progress | Jackie Bradley Jr. picks up a souvenir | Herald: Hot Sox two good for Yankees | 3-week plan for Papi | Victorino helping JBJ an example of changed team | Hard to believe this Yankee team | Dempster 'anxious' to take mound for Sox | CSNNE: Buchholz 'efficient' | Sox take second straight from Yankees, 7-4 | Ortiz may return in mid-April | WEEI: Sox, Buchholz get better of Yankees | Bradley Jr. collects first hit | Fenway opener possible for Drew's return