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Iglesias gets the nod at short, Webster is comped to one of the game's best, and Jon Lester loves America
Things are not looking great for Stephen Drew, who has persisting symptoms from the mild concussion sustained over 10 days ago. Remember, "mild" is a relative term here: just because it's minor doesn't mean it isn't a potentially big deal, as concussion is shorthand for "brain injury." There is no sense in rushing Drew or anyone with a concussion back, not with the safeguards in place to keep that very thing from happening, and not when bringing him back too early could result in complications. This is why the Red Sox have been keeping Drew's load light, and might send him to see a specialist in Pittsburgh soon should things not clear up for him.
If that were to happen, and Drew needs to begin the season on the disabled list (retroactively, mind you), the starting shortstop will be Jose Iglesias. This maybe isn't surprising, but it does give you a sense for what John Farrell sees the roles of Iglesias and Pedro Ciriaco. With this announcement, it's clear Iglesias is the next-in-line for the shortstop gig after Drew at present, with Ciriaco remaining the utility infielder even if there is an injury to a shortstop. For other infield positions, things might not be so clear, but that's one down.
Iglesias still can't hit, but the Red Sox are pleased with his progress at the plate in terms of being less passive. He needed to be a bit more aggressive given his limited potential with the bat, in order to at least wrest some control from the pitcher in each plate appearance. Even if he fails to hit much over the season's first week or two weeks or whatever is needed to get Drew healthy again, at least he's got that fantastic glove to lean on.
Remember, too, that Iglesias, despite being around for what seems like forever, is the same age as Jackie Bradley, Matt Barnes, and Allen Webster, and a year younger than Bryce Brentz. It's easy to be impatient with him, but he's still years off from whatever his peak ends up being.
Speaking of Webster, he gets a mention in Ken Rosenthal's latest for FOX Sports:
Then there is Webster, who had command issues with the Dodgers, but is the talk of Red Sox camp. He throws his sinker 95 to 99 mph, and his secondary stuff, in the view of the Sox official, is better than former major league pitcher Kevin Brown's.
That reference to Kevin Brown might seem a little random, but, as much as comparisons like this tend to be silly, there's a reason for it. Brown had a ridiculous power sinker in the mid-to-upper-90s, like a certain Red Sox pitching prospect. Brown turned that and high-quality control of his stuff into a career 127 ERA+ and 3,256 innings.
Is Webster going to be that good? That's, uh, hard to say, given he's 3,256 major-league innings behind Brown. However, that pitch does tie them together, as high-90s sinkers aren't exactly something you see constantly. This unnamed Red Sox official mostly seems to be saying that he likes Webster's secondary stuff more than a guy who had one of the most significant power sinkers of the last 20 years, and hey, maybe it is better. But before we start preparing Webster's Hall of Fame speech, let's see if he can consistently command this stuff that is undeniably filthy, shall we?
Jon Lester... well, just read it:
Vote for Jon Lester, if you're not too busy hating America.