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Jonathan Diaz surprised and ‘overjoyed’ to get call from Red Sox

06.29.13 at 3:00 pm ET
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Jonathan Diaz will make his first major-league appearance at third base on Saturday. (AP)

Jonathan Diaz will make his first major-league appearance at third base on Saturday. (AP)

Early Saturday afternoon, Jonathan Diaz was sitting at home with his family, relaxing before his game in Triple-A Pawtucket that night. Two hours later, he was bounding up the stairs of the Fenway Park home dugout, embracing Red Sox manager John Farrell and discussing his major-league debut.

“I just got the call probably an hour and a half ago,” Diaz, 28, said at about 2:30 in the dugout. “It’s been a rush and it’s been exciting.”

The 5-foot-9, 165-pound Diaz has played every infield position except first base this year in Pawtucket. He said he hadn’t yet been told how the Sox will use him beyond Saturday’s game, when he’ll start at third.

“I just saw the manager right now, so no, I’m starting at third and just going to go out there and help the team,” he said.

After a rough start to the year, Diaz said he wasn’t expecting a call-up any time soon.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “I think I had four hits in April, and that was, you know – baseball’s a hard sport, so you just try to stay positive and you never know what’s going to happen, so I just try to keep my work ethic up.”

Diaz is now hitting .241 with a .350 OBP in 55 games with Pawtucket, and the Sox think highly enough of his versatility in the infield to give him a shot at filling in while Stephen Drew recovers from a hamstring injury and Jose Iglesias moves back to shortstop for the time being.

The Blue Jays drafted Diaz in the 12th round out of North Carolina State in 2006 (before which he attended Coral Gables High School in Florida, also Mike Lowell‘s alma mater). Diaz spent seven seasons in the Toronto farm system before landing at Pawtucket this year. His wife and three daughters will be at Fenway to see him make his debut, a day that’s been a long time in the making.

“So many emotions piled up in one,” Diaz said. “It’s excitement, it’s overjoyed, it’s a sense of accomplishment, finally, after so many years of working hard and stuff. It’s a hard feeling to describe.”

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