03/06/12 12:17 AM EST
Iglesias making strong impression on Valentine
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
The shortstop, who led off Monday's game against the Twins, made something happen in the top of the fourth when he dropped down a bunt single and stole second. He also walked once, struck out once and turned a nifty 6-4-3 double play with second baseman Oscar Tejeda.
"The double play was a very well executed play from both sides," said manager Bobby Valentine. "Iglesias is learning that he needs to be the sure man so that the guy at second can be the quick man. That throw was sure. It wasn't real flashy or real fast. He just got it and made the perfect throw, right at chest high, so that Oscar could turn that ball the way he did it. And you give Dustin [Pedroia] a good feed, he's going to turn it every time."
The speed in which Iglesias develops his offense will determine how quickly he makes it to Fenway Park for good. Iglesias already has all the defensive skills to play in the Major Leagues.
"I don't think that his technique is what it needs to be yet," said Valentine. "If we start adding just a little more technique, a little more rhythm, a little more something to give him the ability to recognize the pitch a little earlier so he can time it when he gets to the plate, he might be close."
Valentine has been impressed by the attitude Iglesias has displayed.
"Iglesias has been outstanding on my watch," said Valentine. "I haven't been in that cage with him," Valentine said. "I'm not totally sure what's going on there, but I know it's proper. I don't know what his aptitude is from there to the game. If step-by-step is happening there, and that's what I'm seeing in the game, I think it's very good. If it's a regression from there into the game, then the aptitude isn't what it should be."
The manager also enjoys watching Iglesias pursue popups.
"He has a special tracking device on fly balls -- unique to very few from what I've seen so far," Valentine said. "And he has a special ability to transfer the ball from the glove to the hand. That's all I've gotten to see. I don't know about specialness moving off the bat and range and game awareness and those things. He can transfer the ball from a longer distance than just about anybody I've ever seen. And he has that GPS in his mind. He can track a popup."
Padilla eyes rotation, but would accept 'pen role
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Of the multitude of pitchers vying to win the fifth spot in the Red Sox's starting rotation, Vicente Padilla is the one with the most Major League innings under his belt.
The seasoned veteran came out of the bullpen on Monday night against the Twins, and he displayed a couple of his eephus pitches, which were clocked at 53 mph. Padilla followed those with low 90s heat.
"I always throw it," Padilla said through David Ortiz, who served as an interpreter. "In my mind, that's the last thing they're thinking about. I've got good velocity on my fastball and try to make the unexpected happen."
Padilla fired two shutout innings, striking out two. In his second inning of work, the righty gave up three singles and had the bases loaded with one out, but he wiggled out of it.
"I felt good," said Padilla. "I started locating my pitches and getting more focused on the strike zone."
The righty's resume -- which includes 1,521 1/3 innings and 104 victories -- is something that manager Bobby Valentine is well aware of.
"You know, Padilla moves the ball back and forth and up and down," Valentine said. "Obviously he knows what he's doing out on the mound. He hit a few bats that weren't quite enough on the end or the handle, and they blooped them in. He knows what he's doing. I think he could help us too if he stays healthy all spring."
If Padilla has his druthers, he'll be one of Valentine's five starters. But there are also vacancies in the bullpen, where Padilla made 93 of his 330 career appearances.
"As a starter, I feel better, because I use more of my pitches and I've always been a starter," Padilla said. "But I'm up for whatever. I want to help this ballclub one way or another."
Energized Ortiz not cutting any corners
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The moon shot went high and deep to right and cleared the fence, right next to a palm tree. David Ortiz belted his first homer of Spring Training in the third inning on Monday night. He nearly added another in the fifth, only to have the drive crash off the wall in left-center for a double.
Starting at first base for the second time this spring, Ortiz appeared energized.
"I loved him," manager Bobby Valentine said of the performance. "You know, really, he swung the bat extremely well. He swung at the first pitch, was right on it both times, fouled it off and made the adjustment, hit the ball hard. He caught a popup, and stretched and made the third out on a play, third to first base. He has energy and is bouncing around nicely. He thinks he needs to gain a little weight, because that ball didn't go out to left field, but we'll keep that thought out of his mind."
Ortiz, at the age of 36, is leaner this spring. And he doesn't plan on cutting any corners during the Grapefruit League schedule.
"I already told Bobby I'm going to do what I did last year, play more [in Spring Training]," Ortiz said. "I don't mind if he sends me on the road or whatever so I can get some playing time. Last year, that helped me out a lot."
Last year was the first time since 2008 that Ortiz had a respectable April. He had his typically strong summer, producing a fine all-around season.
"The reason why we have Spring Training, especially for a guy like me, is to get prepared for the season," Ortiz said. "I tried to put some good swings out there when I'm playing, but what I really want to do is make sure my timing, my foot is down on time and I can see pitches and read pitches good and be ready to go for the season."