FORT MYERS FL Infielder Jose Iglesias #76 of the Boston Red Sox fields a ground ball during a Spring Training Workout Session at the Red Sox Player Development Complex in Fort Myers Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
With Kevin Youkilis out for the third-straight game, the Red Sox have called up shortstop Jose Iglesias from Pawtucket. In order to make room for him on the 25-man roster, reliever Junichi Tazawa, who has an option in use, was sent back down to Triple-A.
Iglesias hasn't hit much at Pawtucket this year, but he has shown evolving plate discipline. After drawing just 21 walks in 387 plate appearances in 2011 (5.4 percent), the Cuban-born shortstop has secured eight free passes (8.1 percent) already in this young season. He's not here for his bat, though; depending on how long Youkilis is scratched for, Iglesias might not even step up to the plate. He's here to back up the infield with Nick Punto taking over at third base for the time being. (Or, it's possible, to move to shortstop while Mike Aviles temporarily takes over at third base, but the image of Iglesias batting every day for two weeks is unsettling at this junction.)
Given it's Iglesias getting the call, and not the most popular Red Sox prospect around, third baseman Will Middlebrooks, it doesn't sound like Youkilis's injury is going to keep him out for very long. Then again, this could just be a precursor to a more significant move, perhaps Kevin Youkilis to the disabled list and Aaron Cook to the bullpen to replace Tazawa.
Middlebrooks is in Triple-A to learn, and just because he's bashing there doesn't mean he would handle the position any better than Punto at this stage in his development. Let's not forget that bringing him up this early in the season would also get his service time clock going, and there are benefits to keeping him in Pawtucket just a little bit longer than this. If Youkilis had an injury that required the 60-day DL, that would be one thing, but he's been scratched for a few games with a sore back. That's no reason to interrupt Middlebrooks' scheduled lesson plan.