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."