NEW YORK -- When Jose Iglesias was called up from Pawtucket as Will Middlebrooks went on the disabled list, the assumption was that Iglesias would return to the minors when Middlebrooks was re-activated.
Now, that's not guaranteed.
John Farrell hinted that Iglesias could remain with the team as the primary utility infielder when Middlebrooks returns next Saturday.
"We haven't ruled out that he would remain here in a utility role,'' said Farrell. "He's been exposed more to third (base) than he has to second. Obviously, we're more than comfortable with him at shortstop. If we're to strongly consider him in that utility role, then he's got to get some exposure to second base.
"The one thing we've been cautious of is the pivot on the double play. I don't know how you can emulate that in early work or simulated-type situation. But again, I think most important, we haven't ruled out him in that utility role.''
Pedro Ciriaco had filled that role since the start of the season, but his spotty play at short and third, along with a .239 batting average may have the Red Sox re-thining things.
Iglesias, meanwhile, has performed well. Since being recalled, he's hitting .423. For the season, he's hitting .433, including a .466 on-base percentage and a surprising .543 slugging percentage.
That contrasts sharply with the struggles he had at Pawtucket, where he was hitting .202.
"Maybe it's the result of concentration and focus,'' said Farrell. "One thing he's not doing that we saw in spring training or last year is that he's not chasing the breaking ball as much. I think that's a sign of maturity. That's better pitch recognition of maybe what opposing pitchers try to do to him.
"There's no denying that he's swung the bat very well here."
All along, to help with his development, the Sox had taken the approach that Iglesias was better off getting regular playing time in Pawtucket rather playing irregularly in the big leagues.
''We're probably more open-minded to less than everyday at-bats than maybe we were previous," Farrell said.
One potential complication: Ciriaco is out of options and would have to be exposed to waivers before being sent to Pawtucket. But if the Sox believe Iglesias can be of more value, that may be a risk they're willing to take.