Struggling at plate, Iglesias feels he's turned corner

Struggling at plate, Iglesias feels he's turned corner

ST. PETERSBURG -- A day after Jose Iglesias was lifted for a pinch-hitter in mid at-bat by manager Bobby Valentine, he was back in the lineup for Monday night's game against the Rays, batting ninth.

Despite numbers (2-for-28) that indicate he's been overmatched at the plate since being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket, Iglesias feels he has turned a corner recently and that the results will soon prove it.

"I've felt pretty good in the last few days. That's what matters to me." Iglesias said. "I feel more comfortable at home plate. I'm starting to have some good at-bats."

Iglesias has spent plenty of extra time in the cage with hitting coach Dave Magadan.

What has been the focus?

"Just talking about swinging at strikes," Iglesias said. "I think I'm going to do better and I've been feeling better the last few days."

Plate discipline might sound pretty straightforward, but it's a complex aspect of the game, particularly for someone who still lacks experience.

"With him it's hard to even get into the mechanics of his swing, because for me it begins and ends with pitch selection," said Magadan. "He needs to work on the recognition of pitches, and not only fastball to curveball, fastball to slider, but it's fastball strike, fastball, ball. I think that's just going to come with experience."

Of course, there's only one way for the 22-year-old Iglesias to get that experience.

"He needs to play," Magadan said. "He needs the experience of the at-bats and the grinding of the at-bat. The rhythm of the at-bat. He's never played more than 100 or so games. He's probably only got all told about two years of at-bats. For a kid who didn't have a lot of experience when he was younger and came over, I think the big thing is to get those at-bat experiences.

"We can go in the cage and we can work until we're blue in the face and we can take batting practice, and mechanically he's OK. He just has to understand whether to, 'Swing at this pitch, whether or not to swing at this pitch. What am I looking for? Am I recognizing what I'm looking for?' Those are all things you gain that edge after having a lot of at-bats under your belt."

Iglesias has 979 career at-bats in the Minors, and 34 with the Red Sox.

"Baseball is the same. Maybe the game is a little faster [in the Majors], and I need to try to slow down a little bit, but I feel fine," Iglesias said.

Iglesias has had plenty of support from veteran teammates, including Dustin Pedroia, who knows what it is like to struggle as a callup from the Minors.

"Oh yeah," said Iglesias. "[Pedroia] just tells me every day, 'Keep my head up. Enjoy it, have a good time here.'"