April 12, 2013 at 12:45 PM
PAWTUCKET, R.I. - When Jose Iglesias was optioned to Pawtucket in favor of a healthy Stephen Drew on Wednesday, he was admittedly disappointed. But the 23-year-old defensive wizard vows that he'll use the trip to Triple-A to continue building upon the offensive success he had in Boston, while refining all aspects of his game.
"I mean I was disappointed, but this was out of my control," said Iglesias, who batted .450 (9 for 20) in six games with Boston. "All I can do is come to the field, take extra BP, learn something every day, and be a better player. When I get another opportunity I will be better."
It didn't take long for Iglesias to exhibit the same offensive success in Pawtucket that he showed earlier this season.
In his second at-bat of the PawSox' Home Opener on Thursday, Iglesias lined a fastball from Minnestoa Twins' prospect Kyle Gibson for a two-run home run just inside the left-field foul pole, his first of the season.
"It was a good pitch in and I was able to stay inside the ball and hit a homer for the team. It was fun," Iglesias said.
Over the last two seasons, Iglesias has homered just three times in 782 at-bats across the minors and majors. Including spring training, he's now homered twice in 81 at-bats this year.
His recent success has stemmed directly from tangible improvements in his swing, according to PawSox manager Gary DiSarcina, who previously worked with Iglesias in 2010 as Boston's minor-league infield instruction coordinator.
"What I have seen is his bat path is more in the zone. His bat is staying through the zone and he's finishing," DiSarcina said. "He's not cutting [his bat] off; he's not pulling it off. His head's not spinning, [and] he's not rotating. He's staying in there."
"That was a hard fastball inside that he hit for a home run, [but] his bat path was perfect and he stayed through. He's very aggressive. He's not just trying to put the ball in play. He's trying to drive the ball, and he's been doing that since the first day of spring training."
Iglesias' comfort at the plate and confidence are at an all-time high even with the demotion to Pawtucket, which was based more on circumstance than productivity.
"No doubt," Iglesias responded when asked if this recent stretch is the most comfortable he has felt at the plate in his career. "I'm back and my confidence is back. I can feel it."
While DiSarcina had his take on Iglesias' newfangled offensive exploits, the shortstop had different reasons why he's been on this tear of late.
"My mind," Iglesias said. "I went into the offseason and prepared myself the best way possible. [I] worked hard every single day just to be in this position today of helping this organization win some ball games."
"I got a better idea of what I need to do on the field. That's the bottom line. I grew up as a player. I grew up as a person -- every day, every year. I feel ready to do what I need to do."
Complacency does not seem to be an issue for Iglesias despite the good fortunes he's mustered at the plate to start this year. He understands there's work needed to be done before he earns another shot in Boston.
"I'm going to work on everything as a player, as a person, and as a teammate," he said. "That's why we're here, no? To get better. Be a leader here. Be an example for these guys, and be ready for when my opportunity comes again."
Photo Credit: Jose Iglesias by Kelly O'Connor
Kevin Pereira is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @kevinrpereira