FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Until he arrived in Florida last month, manager Bobby Valentine said he never watched shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias play in person.
In the last few days, Valentine has had an opportunity to watch Iglesias play a few games, hitting him in the leadoff spot to give the flashy infielder additional plate appearances.
There's little dispute about Iglesias's defensive aptitude, but his offense needs work.
"(The at-bats) have been OK," said Valentine Monday before Iglesias hit leadoff again against the Minnesota Twins Monday night at Hammond Stadium. "I don't think his technique is what he needs it to be, but his at-bats have been good.
"We start adding a little more technique, a little more rhythm, something to give him the ability to recognize the pitch a little earlier so he can time it when it gets to the plate, I think he might be close."
Valentine termed Iglesias "outstanding," when it comes to willingness to learn and improve.
Valentine has already noted that Iglesias is skilled at tracking popups, referencing two running catches the shortstop made in a game against the Twins last Thursday.
"He has a special tracking device on fly balls," Valentine said, "unique to very few. And he has a special ability to transfer the ball from glove to hand. That's all I've gotten to see. I don't know about the specialness of moving off the bat and range and game-awareness -- those things.
"But I can tell you that he can transfer the ball (from glove to hand) from a longer distance than just about anybody I've ever seen. And he has the GPS in his mind. He can really track pop-ups. I dare say that no one (else) in this camp (could have made those plays last week). Very few others -- Ozzie (Smith), Rey Ordonez could do that."