Red Sox follow plan in activating Drew, optioning Iglesias

Red Sox follow plan in activating Drew, optioning Iglesias
April 10, 2013, 7:00 pm
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BOSTON – The Red Sox acquired Stephen Drew in the offseason with the intent of making him the starting shortstop and having Jose Iglesias at Triple-A Pawtucket where he could work on his offense, which had been lacking in his previous time in the major leagues.

So Drew starting the season on the disabled list while Iglesias got off to an unexpectedly hot start at the plate did nothing to alter that plan.

Drew was activated on Tuesday while Iglesias was optioned to Pawtucket.

“Stephen completed his rehab. He’s in the lineup tonight, obviously,” manager John Farrell said before Wednesday’s game against the Orioles. “Met with Jose here yesterday, the off-day, and informed him of the transaction that was going to take place. And to his credit he took it very professionally.

“I’m sure there was some disappointment in there. But he did everything that we could have hoped and he played exceptionally well for us. So he goes back to Pawtucket, I’m sure with an increased level of confidence and probably in his mind he’s a major league player.”

In six games this season, Iglesias hit .450, going 9-for-20 with three runs scored, two doubles, an RBI, and three strikeouts. The Sox acquired Drew as a free agent in the offseason, on a one-year, $9.5 million contract. He suffered a concussion after being hit in the helmet with a pitch on March 7.

“[When] we signed Stephen this offseason, we felt like he was an important part of, we were putting together our team and add a left-hand presence in our lineup and a steady performer at shortstop,” said general manager Ben Cherington. “He was consistently one of the best shortstops in the National League before the ankle injury [in 2011, that limited him to 165 games in 2011-12]. We felt like we were getting him at the right time, fully healthy. And unfortunately he got hit in the head with a fastball in spring training and had to recover from that.

“And during that time, Iglesias did a terrific job, both in spring training and early in the season here. I think it’s clear that Jose’s taken a step forward. But at this point in the season we’ve got two capable shortstops and they both need to play. Jose’s going to do that in Pawtucket right now. But it’s a good situation for us.”

Drew played in four rehab games with Double-A Portland, batting .154, going 2-for-13 with a run scored, a home run in his last game on Monday, three RBI, two walks and three strikeouts. He said he is fully recovered from the concussion symptoms, and felt not hesitation in the batter’s box.

“It’s a good feeling to be back,” Drew said. “It was kind of a long process, kind of didn’t know when I would be back… good to be here.

“Now it’s going in there and playing the game. Up here’s a little faster pace, but I’ve been used to it. I’m just ready to get back out there and get adjusted.”

With the way Iglesias, who is one of the top defensive players in baseball, had been performing, he may have made the decision more difficult. But the long-standing plan had been in place before the start of the season.

“He’s a very good player and obviously showed well offensively,” Farrell said. “But as we stated in spring training, upon Stephen’s recovery we were going to insert him back as our starting shortstop. We didn’t deviate off that even though Jose was playing as well as he was and swinging the bat as good as he was. So that’s why I can understand if there was some frustration on Jose’s part. But he handled it very professionally yesterday.”

What would the Sox like to see from Iglesias in Pawtucket?

“To go about his work every day with the same approach he had here,” Farrell said. “That’s the only thing that he can really control. The sooner he can maybe get past any frustration that might be in there the better and when I say that I’m not saying that he’s showing any negativity toward what took place but can fully understand the player’s feeling when he performed so well and he gets sent out. But while at Pawtucket just to maintain the very consistent and strong work ethic he showed here.”