PAWTUCKET – Finally, a little clarification to “manager’s decision.”
For roughly seven minutes Tuesday, PawSox skipper Gary DiSarcina stood in his office and shed some light as to why shortstop Jose Iglesias was absent from the lineup for three consecutive days after getting removed in the top of the fifth inning of the May 4 contest.
It was fairly obvious that DiSarcina caught wind as to what some folks were passing off as the explanation to why Iglesias spent time on the bench. Such suspicions were way off base because they didn’t come straight from the horse’s mouth.
“I don’t want to expand on it, but if somebody really wants to know what’s going on, they’ll come down and ask,” DiSarcina remarked. “They just won’t make assumptions that he’s a discipline problem. (Iglesias) has never been a discipline problem. He’s on time, does his work and is a great teammate.”
When Iglesias reported to Pawtucket for the April 11 home opener, he did so with David Ortiz in tow. Once the slugger’s rehab stint concluded, Iglesias began coming to grips that he was going to remain in Triple A as long as Stephen Drew was healthy and productive for Boston.
To Iglesias, the bloom was officially off the rose. In the eyes of his skipper, it was reaching the point where signs of slippage were omnipresent. Iglesias ended April batting .242 with a .288 on-base percentage before collecting one hit in six May at-bats.
On-field performance didn’t serve as the underlying reason why DiSarcina elected to take the course of action he did.
“I think he realized that he wasn’t down here on a rehab assignment and that reality set in that he was in Triple A. He felt like, ‘What more can I do?’” was how DiSarcina began the explanation. “It came down to whatever (Red Sox manager) John Farrell told Iggy what he needed to do down here, he wasn’t doing. Sometimes that means you have to sit down for a couple of days.
“There were some things that needed to be addressed. How it works with me is that it’s addressed like this. I’ll talk to you about it – ‘You’re going to sit for a couple of days’ – and we’ll move on,” DiSarcina delved further. “I’m not here to sit him on the bench and punish him. That’s not what we’re all about.
“It’s about, ‘Hey, take a break and remember what John told you,’” said DiSarcina. “Even when we were going through those low points, I really thought that was the bottom of the barrel.”
Upon reinstated Iglesias to the lineup, DiSarcina has noticed an upbeat and more mature player who resembles the 2010 version, a season that saw Iglesias spend in Double-A Portland and DiSarcina serve as Boston’s minor-league roving infield coordinator.
“He was an absolute pleasure to be around. I couldn’t hit enough groundballs to him that year,” DiSarcina recalled. “Playing wise, he’s not a salty veteran. He’s still a young kid who doesn’t have a ton of at-bats. He’s going through similar things that a lot of the other young guys go through.
“With David Ortiz, it felt like he was still (in the majors). Once David leaves and he realizes that he’s not rehabbing, it’s natural for him to have lapses,” DiSarcina went on. “My job is to hold everybody accountable and say, ‘Hey listen, you need to get back to what you’re down here for’ and talk about what John and the organization wants, which is to be consistent in every phase of the game. That’s the bottom line.”
DiSarcina isn’t sweating the 4-for-24 slump that Iglesias carried into the first of four PawSox games against Gwinnett.
“For the three games he was out, he wasn’t going around hanging his head. I see the smile, which means the joy is back,” said. “That’s what it’s all about with Iggy. He plays his best when he’s free. I don’t want to say that he’s flamboyant, but he’s got the flash. When you start to take that creativity away from him, you take his personality away.”
The manager also made sure to put on the record that there’s no bad blood in place between himself and Iglesias.
“He knows why I’m here – to get his (butt) out of here. He knows and understands that,” DiSarcina said. “He has no grudge against me and I have none against him. What good does it do if I bury him? You have to be there for him and let him know how you feel and it’s vice versa.”
Consider “manager’s decision” a closed matter.