PAWTUCKET – Pawtucket’s new third baseman came out feeling pretty good about his showing at the hot corner on Tuesday afternoon.
“It was fun to see the game from a different angle,” smiled Jose Iglesias after the PawSox came out on top in a wild 9-8 affair against Indianapolis. “I’ve never played third base in my life and it wasn’t bad.”
Iglesias was making his professional debut at third after logging 313 games at shortstop between the majors and minors. His first chance came in the third inning where Iglesias one-hopped a throw to first baseman Drew Sutton. He was charged with an error.
“The throw was a little longer than what I thought,” said Iglesias, who finished 1-for-3 with a walk.
Added Pawtucket manager Gary DiSarcina, “It’s a different throw because it’s a different angle. He didn’t get his arm up to his normal slot that he would like.”
Call it a case of lesson learned as Iglesias’ next fielding chance in the sixth inning saw him deliver an on-target throw after making a nice pick along the line. His fourth and final opportunity saw him take charge and yell to his teammates that the pop-up hit by Alex Pressly in the seventh was his to make.
“That was my ball; I had the better angle,” said Iglesias.
As far as how often Iglesias will deviate from his natural position and move around the infield – he’s been learning the particulars needed to play second base – the player and manager were non-committal.
“For (Tuesday), I wanted him to play free and be himself,” said DiSarcina. “He’s a reactionary and instinctive player … he was fine over there.”
The PawSox took advantage of five errors by the Indians, two by catcher and Boston College product Tony Sanchez. Pawtucket and Indianapolis wound up splitting the four-game series.
Trailing by a 3-1 score, the PawSox reduced the difference to a run when Bryce Brentz, who had an RBI single his first at-bat, led off the bottom of the fourth with his eighth homer, a shot that landed in the bleachers in right-center. He’s now hitting .341 (14-for-41) in his last 10 games with two home runs and nine RBI.
Pawtucket expanded its lead to 9-4 in the seventh, where things got hot for the locals. Without warning or apparent provocation, home plate umpire Will Little ruled that PawSox reliever Pedro Beato threw intentionally at Josh Harrison with one out. The pitch was clearly up and in, though it didn’t appear that Beato’s toss was deliberate.
Beato’s surprising ejection brought DiSarcina barreling out of the dugout. After engaging in a colorful conversation with Little, he too was given the heave-ho. Brandon Synder, who was sitting on the bench, was also run by Little.
“For one of your pitchers to get thrown out over that, as a manager you’ve got to go out and defend him and let the umpire know how you feel,” said DiSarcina.
Beato ended up receiving credit for the win. Anthony Carter’s bid for a two-inning save proved adventurous. He surrendered a two-run home run in the ninth that allowed Indianapolis (32-15) to pull to within a run before he hit a batter with two down.
With the tying run aboard, Carter got Jerry Sands to lift a deep fly ball that center fielder Ronald Bermudez tracked down.
Justin Henry and Jonathan Diaz – the PawSox who manned shortstop while Iglesias got his feet wet at third base – scored two runs apiece despite not getting a hit. The pair combined for four walks with Diaz striking out four times.
Tuesday’s starter was supposed to be Rubby De La Rosa, but those plans were scrapped after the hard-throwing Pawtucket pitcher tweaked a muscle in his left side while playing catch on flat ground on Monday. DiSarcina noted that De La Rosa started to feel discomfort immediately after throwing the last pitch of the session.
“Better safe than sorry with him,” said manager Gary DiSarcina. “It’s nothing to get concerned about. He came in (Tuesday) and said he felt better.”
It’s unclear whether De La Rosa will be able to make his next scheduled start. He’s made eight starts for the PawSox with none of them covering more than five innings.
Chris Hernandez ended up taking De La Rosa’s spot, working four innings and allowing three runs (one earned) with three strikeouts and two walks.
Jackie Bradley Jr. has hit the ground running and not looked back since coming off the disabled list. In three games, he’s collected a single, double, triple and home run to go along with two walks and five runs. The four hits in 11 at-bats reminds DiSarcina of how Bradley looked at the plate prior to the development of tendinitis in his right bicep.
“He was struggling when we first got him, and probably a week before he got hurt, he was doing good,” noted DiSarcina about Bradley, who was 6-for-12 in the three games prior to getting shut down for roughly two weeks. “We were talking and it looked like the Jackie from spring training, and boom, he goes down.
“He’s picked up right from where he left off. It’s a beautiful thing when you don’t have to start all over again,” he added. “He’s been prepared and the results are there.”
In keeping with the organization’s theme of slowly working Bradley into the equation, the 23-year-old sat out Tuesday’s matinee. With the PawSox enjoying a rare off day Wednesday – DiSarcina noted that the player will report to McCoy to receive treatment – and the fact Thursday’s game in Louisville starts at 7:05 p.m., Bradley will receive enough down time that he can embark upon the next phase, which is playing back-to-back days.
“After having these two-and-a-half days off, he’s going to play (Thursday and Friday) and we’ll re-evaluate him after that,” DiSarcina said. “That’s going to be key and hopefully we can start to release the reins after that. We’ve been so patient with him so far.”
With Boston outfielder Shane Victorino dealing with a host of maladies that have cropped up in a short window of time, DiSarcina was asked about Bradley’s availability should the need for help at the big-league level arise.
“It’s up to (Red Sox manager) John (Farrell); he’ll have a better idea how he wants to play him. If he called me, I’d say, ‘Hell, yeah, I’d play him.’ He’s ready, but the arm and all that stuff needs to be taken care of right now,” the skipper said. “I think John knows that, but that’s the tease. You want to pop him out of here and bring him up there, but what do you do if after five days his arm is sore?
“As long as Jackie Bradley is on the roster and he’s able to go out there, he’s an option,” said DiSarcina. “The dilemma is getting him built up but on his timeframe, not on Victorino’s.”
If a Victorino-for-Bradley swap were to happen, it would mean the latter would likely patrol right field as opposed to his natural position, which is center field.
“It’s my serenity,” said Bradley about exclusively playing center field for Pawtucket. “I can play all the outfield spots, but center field is what I know. That’s what I am by nature and what I know.”