After causing a minor controversy during Spring Training as a vocal portion of the media called for him to start, Jose Iglesias is finally going to get his shot. The Boston Red Sox have called up the defensive wizard to help the infield as third baseman Kevin Youkilis
deals with back issues. By adding Iglesias, the Red Sox can move current shortstop Mike Aviles to third and get Iglesias’ glove in at short or or use Nick Punto at third and have Iglesias available on the bench, as they will do tonight. The move could help boost the team’s poor defensive efficiency which has played a part in their pitching staff’s difficulties.
Iglesias has not exactly made this promotion inevitable. At AAA Pawtucket he is hitting just .200/.274/.212 in 97 plate appearances. While his batting line is still weak, he has made important strides forward on offense. He has improved his plate discipline greatly, walking 8.1% of the time thus far. He is still striking out a bit more than a low power contact-first player should, at 16.2%. The effectiveness of his contact is still questionable, as he has just a .243 batting average on balls in play, though that could still just be bad luck. He will almost certainly struggle at the plate in the majors, but the need for improved defense is reason enough to give him his chance right now while the Red Sox are without an everyday third baseman.
Reliever Junichi Tazawa is being sent down to make room for Iglesias. As the only player in the bullpen with options remaining, Tazawa is a logical choice, but the atrocious Red Sox relief corps could certainly use his help. Since being called up to replace the struggling Mark Melancon, Tazawa has been a welcome addition. He has pitched in five games and has not allowed a run in 6 1/3 innings while striking out four and allowing just five hit and no walks. He will likely be back as soon as the Red Sox can fid roster space for him.
Roster space is a significant issue for the team right now and as such they have not made a decision on the fate of Aaron Cook. If the Red Sox do not make another move, Cook can opt out of his minor league deal and attempt to sign elsewhere. Lars Anderson would be the logical choice to go back to AAA if Cook is added to the roster today, though his lefty bat is useful on the increasingly right-handed Sox bench.