I would love to tell you that Jose Iglesias looked like equal parts Luis Aparicio and Cal Ripken Jr. today. But that would be stretching the truth a bit.
The Red Sox let the media come watch a few drills and talk to the players during rookie development camp. The workouts are being held under the bubble on the football field at Boston College.
Iglesias played some catch, fielded a few easy grounders and did some running. He has quick hands and a strong arm, but that was to be expected. Beyond that, it was impossible to tell much. Spring training will give everybody a much better sense of what the Red Sox have in the 20-year-old Cuban defector.
But after getting a chance to meet Iglesias, it was hard not be impressed with how well he is handling the major changes in his life. He tried a few words of English on the media, talked candidly about what aspects of his game he needs to improve and said he is looking forward to meeting Luis Tiant. Boston, he said, was a “beautiful city.”
“It’s a learning process for me,” said Iglesias, who used Latin American coordinator Eddie Romero to translate questions. “But the game, it is the same.”
Iglesias is learning English by watching television and catching an occasional movie. Avatar was a favorite. He has a place to live in the Miami area and talks to his family back home a few times every week. His agent, Fern Cuza, is working on trying to bring them to the States.
One of the first lessons Iglesias learned in the Arizona Fall League was not to watch your home runs. After knocking one out in his first game, Iglesias pimped it around the bases and got drilled in his next at-bat.
The AFL roster listed him at 5-11, 175 pounds. Iglesias is not that big and you have to wonder whether he’ll have the strength to handle big-league velocity. But signing Marco Scutaro for two years allows the Sox to have some patience and give Iglesias a chance to develop. He needs to go play a full season in the minors, get a bunch of at-bats and spend regular time in the weight room.
“It has been an incredible change in my life the last year,” Iglesias said. “I try not to think about the future too much. I know I have a lot to learn.”