BOSTON -- The first time Jose Iglesias played third base in his life, according to him, was Tuesday for Triple-A Pawtucket. Weather permitting, the second will be under the bright lights Friday night at Fenway Park.
It's enough to cause some butterflies for the man with perhaps the best glove in the organization.
"Absolutely, everything is new," he said Friday afternoon when asked if he had any nerves. "I didn't even know the little things like where I should throw, where I should be, but I'll feel more comfortable tonight."
The one-time "shortstop of the future" for the Red Sox has been rushed into hot-corner duty after the team placed Will Middlebrooks on the 15-day disabled list with a lower-back strain as part of a handful of roster moves Friday afternoon.
Pedro Ciriaco was the only backup candidate on the major league roster, but has struggled in limited duty this year. In addition, Iglesias showed enough in his one game and four days of practice to give the organization some confidence in his ability to hold down the fort.
"Talking with [Pawtucket manager] Gary DiSarcina, he's an instinctual reactionary type of player," manager John Farrell said. "He'll need some guidance in games as far as positioning. [Third-base coach Brian Butterfield] obviously has got a system in place to handle that. He was the guy to fill in."
Iglesias' return to the majors is notable not only because of the position change. He was recently sat down for a few days by DiSarcina in order to get a mental break. The organization felt as if Iglesias, who was not entirely pleased with being sent down prior to a solid start with Boston, needed to regain a hold of his priorities.
The 23-year-old feels as if he is in a better place, even if he is not at the position he has mastered.
"I think that helped me a lot," he said of the benching. "I was not in a good situation at that time, emotional, whatever it was. I think Gary and the coaches, they do the right thing. To put my mind in the right place again. That's where I am."
Iglesias hinted that there is much to learn moving 50 feet to the right and manning a more reactionary position than his customary shortstop. At times, however, he knows it comes down to the basics.
"See the ball, catch the ball, make the throw," he said.
Ever the tactician, Farrell took a broader approach when discussing the transition.
"The best candidate internally and a guy that we feel confident will come up and play, and play well enough at the position," he said of Iglesias, who hit .450 in six games for the Red Sox out of the gate. "There's going to be different angles we know he'll take on balls at third base vs. the middle of the diamond at shortstop. He had three and a half, four days of work prior to his first game [at third] with Pawtucket. He's an infielder. He's got great instincts and reactions. He's not going to have the benefit of the third hop at third base. It's going to be more that one hop or that reaction play than it would be at shortstop. That's where we feel like his instincts and his reactionary ability play there."
Iglesias hit just .202 in 33 games for the PawSox after being sent down, but had a notable spike in power with four homers, one more than his career total entering the season. He said that while the overall production was not there, he felt as if he was having positive at-bats.
Iglesias was penciled into the ninth spot in the lineup against Cleveland's Justin Masterson on Friday.