Red Sox Notes: Iglesias flashes some speed

Red Sox Notes: Iglesias flashes some speed
March 16, 2013, 5:30 pm
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  • Jose Iglesias flashed some speed in the seventh when he pulled a ball down the left field line into the corner and legged out a triple for his sixth extra-base hit this spring.

Last season, in 429 at-bats split between Lowell (brief rehab), Pawtucket and Boston, Iglesias had just 15 extra-base hits.

The Sox told Iglesias to build up his upper body in the off-season and to focus on driving the ball this spring and the results have been impressive.

"The aggressiveness in the swing, and the hard contact, have shown up here in the times he's been on the field,'' said manager John Farrell. "It's been very encouraging.''

  • Blake Swihart, the Red Sox' second first-round draft pick from 2011, caught two innings behind the plate in his first appearance in a major league spring training game and delivered a double in his first at-bat.

"I fell behind the first couple of pitches,'' said Swihard. "Three-and two count, I knew he was going to come in with a fastball and I wanted to get my hands out there and get something on the ball.''

"Good looking swing,'' said Farrell. "I know it's only a couple of innings of work, but as a 20-year old, coming into his first 'A' game on the major league side, I think he handled it well.''

"I was very excited (to be on the team's travel roster),'' Swihart said. "This is my first time. I didn't know if I was going to get to play or not, but being able to get in was a lot of fun. I had some jitters in the first inning and I hadn't really had a chance to warm up, so my first throw (down to second base after the pitcher's warmup tosses) was pretty bad, but it's alright.''

Swihart played at low Single A Greenville last year, and hit .262 with seven homers and 53 RBI in 92 games. He will likely start at High A Salem this season.

This is Swihart's second spring training and he feels more comfortable.

"A lot more,'' said Swihart. "I know the routine, I know everyone around me. It's easy to meet the new guys. It's a lot more comfortable because I've been through it.''

  • Outfielder Shane Victorino reported back to camp, after taking part in the World Baseball Classic with Team USA. The American squad was eliminated Friday night in Miami and Victorino wasted no time driving across the state to rejoin the Sox.

Farrell predicted that Victorino would be back in the Red Sox lineup Sunday when the Sox host the Rays.

The manager said he wants Victorino to get some playing time in left in the final two weeks of spring, since the Sox plan to have play there some in Yankee Stadium during the first series of the year.

Victorino, who will play right most of the time, is a far superior outfielder to Jonny Gomes. But in certain ballparks, like Yankee Stadium, there's more ground to cover in left and the Sox plan to switch the two.

The Sox made two more roster cuts Saturday, optioning reliever Alex Wilson and catcher Dan Butler to Pawtucket. The moves leave the Sox with 46 players in camp...Outfielder Mitch Maier, who rolled on his left wrist while making a diving catch in Sarasota Friday, has a sprain. The wrist is wrapped up, but no broken bones were detected. "He's going to be a few days,'' said Farrell...Infielder Pedro Ciriaco, who was a last-minute scratch against Minnesota Friday night because of back spasms, showed some improvement Saturday. "We're hopeful to get him on the field (Sunday) with some baseball activity,'' said Farrell. "Provided he passes that, we'll make sure those spasms don't re-appear and we'll look to get him back on the field as soon as possible.''

  • John Lackey had praise for catcher Matt Spring, who was behind the plate for Lackey’s five-inning, minor league outing Saturday afternoon.

 “I was real impressed with that Spring kid, actually,” Lackey said. “He called a good game. Had a good target and stuff. He was good back there.”

Spring, 28, a fourth-round pick of the Rays in 2004, joined the Sox in March 2011 as a minor league free agent. He appeared in 60 games for Double-A Portland and two games for Triple-A Pawtucket last season. He has appeared in one big league game this spring, getting on at-bat as a pinch hitter for designated hitter Ryan Sweeney on Feb. 25 in Port Charlotte against the Rays.