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The man Iglesias came to see

02.22.10 at 5:11 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jose Iglesias sat at the chair in front of his locker, leaning forward and carrying a wide-eyed approach to all that was going on around him. On Monday morning, like so many at the Red Sox‘ minor league training facility, the early-morning show centered around the trash-talking of Dustin Pedroia.

For Iglesias, who has an above-average understanding of the English language despite having been in the United States for less than a year, it was yet another unique experience when it came to life in the world of professional baseball.

“It’s funny,” Iglesias said in english, breaking off from answering questions in spanish with Alex Ochoa serving as a translator, referring to Pedroia’s clubhouse antics.

What Pedroia didn’t know was that the 20-year-old whom he was entertaining – and would later take grounders with – had made it a priority to seek out the Sox’ second baseman well before arriving in Fort Myers.

“I looked forward to seeing him most of all,” Iglesias said of Pedroia. “I like his energy and how he plays hard. He’s the guy I really wanted to play with.”

When told Iglesias had singled him out as the player the Cuban shortstop had most wanted to meet up with, Pedroia smiled and returned a dose of admiration the way of the first-year pro.

“He’s got great hands. He’s really quick,” Pedroia said. “Defensively, he’s there. The tools are there. He’ll get stronger as he gets older, but the tools are there to be a really good player.”

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