Valentine considers Iglesias for shortstop

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Valentine considers Iglesias for shortstop

FORT MYERS, Fla. The Red Sox enter spring training with questions at several roster spots, including shortstop. Nick Punto, Mike Aviles, and Jose Iglesias are all candidates for the position.

On Wednesday morning, manager Bobby Valentine spent some time hitting groundballs to a group of infielders that included Iglesias.

Iglesias, the much heralded Cuban defector who turned 22 in January, is considered a defensive whiz, with limited offense, drawing comparisons to Rey Ordonez, whom Valentine managed for parts of seven seasons with the Mets. Ordonez won three Gold Gloves, but hit just .246 in his nine-season career with the Mets, (Devil) Rays, and Cubs.

"My first impression of Iglesias, Valentine said. is that he can catch it. I bet you he can throw it after he catches it, too."

I did see similarities with Rey Ordonez in ball-glove action. Initially, it looked like he had more range than Rey."

Iglesias made his big league debut last season, going 2-for-6 in 10 games. He was limited in 2010, his first season in the United States, to 57 games for Double-A Portland by a thumb injury, but was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket last year, where he hit just .235 with one home run and 31 RBI in 101 games. In two minor league seasons, he has hit a combined .261 with one home run and 51 RBI in 171 games.

Asked if his team could afford little to no production at any position, especially shortstop, Valentine replied:

"Probably not. My fast brain says probably not."

Valentine acknowledged he could perhaps learn from his time with Ordonez.

"I didnt do a very good job of developing Rey into an offensive player, Valentine said. Maybe I can learn from what I didnt do. That was a challenge to get offensive production out of Rey Ordonez. Rey wasnt a very receptive person. Rey didnt adapt or receive well. It seems that Jose would be a little different than that."

Valentine said he kept Ordonez in the lineup because he didnt have a lot of alternatives. Would he do the same with Iglesias?

Its a different world, he said. A different situation."

First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

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First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

First impressions from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals:

 

Steven Wright recovered nicely after the first inning, but the damage was done.

Wright's last five innings featured just three hits allowed -- one in the infield. But the first inning did the Red Sox in -- two walks followed by a three-run homer, then a single and a two-run homer.

Whether this was a matter of rust for Wright -- who last pitched three weeks ago Friday night -- or an early inability to command his knuckleball is uncertain.

The fact is, Wright dug an early hole for his teammates, and he had the misfortune to do so against a team with the best bullpen in baseball.

To his credit, Wright kept the game somewhat within reach thereafter, but the five-run head start proved too much of a jump.

 

It's time to worry a little about Jackie Bradley.

Bradley was just 7-for-40 in the just-completed road trip, and things didn't get any better on the first night of the homestand.

In the first, he came up with two on and two out and struck out swinging to strand both baserunners. In the third, he came to the plate with runners on the corners and, again, struck out swinging.

We're seeing the same kind of slump that Bradley fell into in previous seasons, where even contact is hard to find, with nine strikeouts in the last 16 at-bats.

Problem is, with Andrew Benitendi on the DL, there aren't a lot of options for John Farrell with the Red Sox outfield.

 

Trying to get Fernando Abad and Junichi Tazawa back on track in low- leverage mop-up didn't work.

Tazawa had a perfect seventh, but gave up a monster shot into the center field bleachers to Lorenzo Cain to start the eighth.

Abad entered, and while he did record a couple of strikeouts, also gave up a single, a walk and threw a wild pitches before he could complete the inning.

Getting some work for the two was the right idea, given that the Sox were down by three runs at the time. A good outing might help either regain some confidence and turn the corner.

But not even that could be accomplished Friday night.