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Wednesday morning with Bobby V: What’s the deal with Jose Iglesias?

03.21.12 at 12:24 pm ET
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BRADENTON, Fla. — Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine talked at some length about shortstop Jose Iglesias, proclaiming the 22-year-old “pretty close” to big league ready. That said, Valentine would neither commit to nor dismiss the idea of carrying the prospect on his Opening Day roster.

“Readiness for the big leagues? Pretty close,’€ Valentine said of Iglesias. ‘€œI think we’€™ve seen a lot. Now it will just be a determination of whether it’€™s his time. I think he’€™s played pretty well. He’€™s showed really good progress. We have to decide if he has enough undergraduate credentials in order to take the next step forward.’€

Valentine made clear that he thinks that Iglesias has major league abilities as both a hitter and fielder. However, he noted that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the right fit for the 2012 Red Sox at the start of the season.

“I think his ability is good enough,” said Valentine. “Whether it’€™s his time is the question, with all the other contributing factors. Mike Aviles is doing great. There’€™s been a lot of guys who have been somewhere else waiting for their opportunities.

“Or, if there’€™s, again, some formula that says he needs another something. His ability is all I’€™m saying. I haven’€™t taken into consideration whatever that other stuff is, time in the classroom.”

It is worth noting that Valentine did not answer the question about whether it is Iglesias’ time in the big leagues so much as he posed it. That, in turn, suggests that the idea of having Iglesias break camp in the big leagues has not been ruled either in or out.

“I think he can hit and field at the major league level,” said Valentine. “I don’€™t know that he can make this major league team and perform right now in this setting, in the group that we have. It’€™s just my opinion. Again, there might be other opinions. And that can change, can’€™t it?”

And then, Valentine offered a reminder that the decision on Iglesias will not be made in a vacuum, but will instead also reflect the available alternatives.

“I think Mike Aviles can play shortstop, too, in my opinion,” Valentine noted.

Iglesias is now 3-for-13 (.231) with a .286 OBP, .385 slugging mark and .670 OPS this spring, while Aviles is 9-for-34 (.265) with a .265 OBP, .412 slugging mark and .676 OPS, though Valentine shrugged off the idea that batting average (and, by extension, spring statistics) will be a meaningful guide in the decision-making process.

Instead, the morning commentary was most revealing for the fact that there is a decision-making process, and that whereas a year ago at this time, the Sox were deciding whether to assign Iglesias to Double-A or Triple-A, the team is now at a similar crossroads with regards to whether his proper setting to start 2012 is the majors or Triple-A.

OTHER NOTES

Vicente Padilla will play catch today as he continues to progress in his recovery from a mild hamstring injury. Valentine said that it was a “safe assumption” that the right-hander’s next outing will be pushed back, however.

Andrew Miller, on the other hand, showed up worse for wear one day after leaving his outing with a left hamstring strain.

“He limped into the food room. That’€™s all I saw. That’€™s new, not good,” said Valentine, who said the medical report reflected soreness and stiffness with greater clarity forthcoming in the next 24-48 hours.

Franklin Morales will make his first appearance of the spring on Wednesday, and Valentine said that the left-hander does have enough time to get ready for the start of the regular season barring a setback.

— The status of Miller and Morales could impact the Sox’ decision on the role of Felix Doubront, but that is not yet the case.

“[The Opening Day status of Miller and Morales] might affect a conversation between now and 10 days from now. After that conversation could give me a determination of his usage,” said Valentine. “But I’€™m not thinking of that right now.’€

— Valentine described the overall shape of the bullpen as “a work in progress, as everyone says. I’€™m not sure if we broke camp today, everything would be an excellent situation. We’€™ll make it work.”

He did say that he feels that the Sox have the available right-handers to get left-handed hitters out, thus limiting the team’s dependence on the idea of left-on-left matchup relievers.

Read More: andrew miller, Bobby Valentine, felix doubront, franklin morales
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