Iglesias focused on improving ... not a roster spot

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Iglesias focused on improving ... not a roster spot

FORT MYERS, Fla. When the Red Sox signed Jose Iglesias in September 2009 to a four-year 8.25 million contract, including a 6 million signing bonus, the defensive whiz was supposed to be their shortstop of the future. But Iglesias has not yet followed through on his promise and could soon find himself squeezed out.

Iglesias was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket at the end of August last season and in 68 at-bats he hit just .118 with three extra-base hits a home run and two doubles. In response, the Red Sox signed shortstop Stephen Drew this offseason to a one-year, 9.5 million deal with Xander Bogaerts winging his way up the organizational ladder.

Iglesias was caught off-guard when the Sox signed Drew.

A little bit, he said. Nobody tell me anything I was just reading the papers. But, yeah, but they make decisions. I cant control that. All I can control is be a better player every day, come to the park early, and get better, put myself in good position to help this team to win some ball games.

But it is likely the team Iglesias will be helping, at least early in the season, will be Pawtucket. General manager Ben Cherington has said he wants Iglesias to play every day, which wont happen if the shortstop is in Boston.

Theres nothing I can do about it, Iglesias said. Thats his decision, whatever he thinks is better for the team. My job is to get better, put myself in good position. My career is not one year. Hopefully, I got a lot of years. so prepare myself to get a good 2013 no matter where I play. Thats my goal. Its not my goal to be on the big league team, its my goal be a better player.

Iglesias is just 23. While the Red Sox wont call 2013 a make-or-break season for him, there are some things they need to see from him.

More consistent swing path, said manager John Farrell. I know that theres been a concerted effort for the time that hes been in the system to be an all-field approach, contact type. And I think at times that contact approach and spraying the ball around the field, hell get into a little bit of a weaker positionto execute the swing.

Theres bat speed in there and was evident when he first signed here. So to get back to just concentrating on hard contact and not so much trying to steer the ball around the infield or around the field for that matter. Defensively by all accounts and all of us are probably in agreement that hes ready to play defensively at the major league level. Its a matter of consistent at-bats offensively.

Iglesias said in September he wanted to work to add muscle in the offseason. On Sunday he said he added 11 pounds in a good way to his frame, listed at 5-foot-11, 185 pounds in 2012. He also spent a few days in Arizona working out with second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

Iglesias is not going into the season looking to prove anything, he said.

Not really, Iglesias said. My goal is be healthy. I think if youre healthy and youre playing every day, the results will come.

First impressions: Buchholz finishes strong vs. White Sox

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First impressions: Buchholz finishes strong vs. White Sox

CHICAGO - First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-2 win over the White Sox.

 

If this was some sort of must-win proposition for Clay Buchholz, he passed his test.

Buchholz found himself behind 2-0 just three batters in when he allowed a two-run homer to Jose Abreu, but he righted himself nicely after that.

Buchholz pitched seven innings and didn't allow another run. In fact, Buchholz only yielded two more hits after the first - both singles.

John Farrell said he wanted to see Buchholz attack the strike zone with his fastball, pitch with a quicker tempo and not rely so much on his secondary stuff. To varying degrees, Buchholz accomplished all three and finished strong - retiring the last 10 hitters in a row and 16 of the last 17.

 

Josh Rutledge had a nice night off the bench.

Rutledge was a last-minute addition to the lineup when Hanley Ramirez was scratched with the flu and Travis Shaw was shifted from third base to first base.

Rutledge reached base three times with two singles and a walk. One of the singles drove in the fourth run, scoring Chris Young with an important insurance run.

 

David Ortiz broke out of his U.S. Cellular slump in a big way.

Coming into the game, Ortiz was hitless here in his last 19 at-bats and when he hit into a double play in the first and flied to center in the third, that stretched to 0-for-21. Since the start of 2014, those first two at-bats made Ortiz 1-for-26.

But in the fifth, Ortiz hammered a pitch from Carlos Rodon into the seats in right for a two-run homer, giving the Red Sox their first lead of the series.

For all the talk about Ortiz's difficulty hitting lefties, he's now third among lefty batters in homers off lefthanded pitchers since last July 2.

 

The home run power continues to be in short supply beyond Ortiz.

Last season, the Red Sox didn't have anyone hit 20 homers other than the (then) 39-year-old Ortiz.

Might the same thing happen again this year?

Ortiz hit his sixth homer last night, again leading the club. Mookie Betts is the only other hitter on the Sox with more than three homers -- and he hasn't hit one in his last 58 at-bats, dating back a week and a half.

 

Red Sox will re-assess Rodriguez's progress after rehab start

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Red Sox will re-assess Rodriguez's progress after rehab start

CHICAGO -- Eduardo Rodriguez's return to the Red Sox rotation is going to take a little while longer.

Rodriguez will make at least one more rehab start for Pawtucket Sunday before the Red Sox re-assess his progress.

There had been some thought that Rodriguez would need only two outings on his rehab assignment. But the decision was made Wednesday to give him at least one more.

Rodriguez had a good outing for Pawtucket Tuesday night, allowing three runs on five hits in six innings of work.

All three runs came in the first inning, after which he showed improvement. "From the second to the sixth innings,'' said Farrell, "they were probably more crisp, more sharp. Looking for that to continue to advance."

Rodriguez, too, said he felt better than he did the first time out, when he allowed three runs in just 3 2/3 innings.

"I feel more control of the ball,'' he said. "I feel more comfortable throwing the ball in the game. Physically, I feel fine. I just see how everything goes every day like bullpens, running and everything. I just want to get back as fast as I can. But I want to get back 100 percent, I don't want to get back at 70 percent and go out there and don't do like I normally do."

Rodriguez, of course, has missed the first month of the season after tweaking his knee at the beginning of spring training.

"The first start I made in Pawtucket,'' recalled Rodriguez, ''I was thinking too much on my knee. Every pitch I'm throwing, I'm thinking like 'Don't push too much,' but (Tuesday) night it was every pitch I'm throwing just thinking of the game and not my knee."

After throwing 84 pitches Tuesday night, the Red Sox want him to get his pitch count over 90 in his next outing.

''I think with each outing he's getting, he's gaining more confidence and feeling more maybe natural and free on the mound," Farrell said.