FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It was only one play late in an exhibition game, but Monday afternoon, shortstop Jose Iglesias showed why the Red Sox have such high hopes for him.
With Minnesota's Sean Burroughs on first after walk in the top of the seventh inning, infielder Michael Holliman hit a grounder up the middle.
Iglesias glided over behind the second base bag and never flinched when the ball took a bad hop on the infield dirt. Iglesias simply adjusted his glove a few inches higher, snared the ball in the pocket, then, with his momentum carrying him away from the second base bag, flipped to Pedro Ciriaco for the forceout.
It was a remarkably instinctive play that hinted at Iglesisas' defensive brilliance.
"I'm just reacting to the ball," he said. "It was a bad (hop) and I caught it."
"That was special," said Andrew Bailey, who was pitching at the time. "He can play some defense, that's for sure. The ball took a funny hop on him. He was able to stay with it and get the out. So that was great. Definitely saved the first and third or maybe more than that. And that's a big league
play right there."
Of course, his play in the field isn't in question. But the Red Sox still have to be convinced that he can hit enough to warrant being in the major leagues.
He went 0-for-3 Monday and is hitting .231 in Grapefruit League play this spring.
"I feel very good at the plate," he said. "I've made a couple of adjustments, little things. I feel more disciplined and I'm driving the ball way better. I learned from last year."
Iglesias is unsure what the Red Sox plan to do with him at the start of the season.
"I don't know what my chances are of making the team," he said. "I only care about coming here and getting better every single day. Whatever happens at the end of the spring, I can't control that. I don't know what's going to happen. Whatever happens at the end of the spring, I have to do. They're going to do what's best for my career, for my development."
Asked if he was ready to play at the big league level, Iglesias said: "I'm working hard. I do my best. I don't know -- I haven't played here yet. But I feel very good."
The game marked Iglesias' return to game action after missing about a week with a strained groin.
"The groin feels good," said Iglesias. "I really felt good. My groin feels better and I'm ready to play."