FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Red Sox optioned three of their top prospects — shortstop Jose Iglesias, infielder Yamaico Navarro and catcher Luis Exposito — to Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday.
Iglesias and Navarro were informed of the news in the morning when they got to the park. Exposito, who is with his wife in Miami as she prepares to give birth to their child, was told to take all the time he needed before reporting to the minor league camp.
Manager Terry Francona saw some very nice things from the trio, especially Iglesias, who heads to the minor league camp after going 8-for-26 (.320) in 15 games and showcasing his usual remarkable defense.
The organization knows that the glove is tremendous. It feels as if the bat will get better with more playing time.
"I don't think we saw the type of hitter we're going to see," Francona said of Iglesias. "His mentality is he's trying to show so much, make an impact. He gets in in the sixth inning and he wants to do so much. I think when he settles down and gets into a season we?ll find out what kind of hitter he'll be. We all know the defense is there. The offense will continue to grow as he gets more grounded and gets some at-bats."
Iglesias was limited to just 70 games (57 at Double-A Portland) last year, his first in the system, due to a hand injury. While his season was incomplete due to the injury, the Cuban defector began to improve on his English and entered camp this spring with a firm grasp of the language.
That figures to aide greatly in his progression in 2011.
"Very important, very important," Francona said. "Maybe it's unfair, but we ask these guys to learn. I just think it's so hard to conquer if you're not understanding?just makes it a lot harder."
Iglesias will likely get a full year at Pawtucket playing alongside Navarro, who'll man third base for the PawSox.
Navarro hit .143 (6-for-42) in a September call-up for the Red Sox last year. He impressed this spring with some solid skills at third base and an improved approach at the plate.
"The word we use with all the young guys is accountability. When they come here, trust and accountability. He's learning that," Francona said of Navarro. "I think he continues to learn and mature and it's fun because he's got such good bat speed. It'll be fun to watch and see how much better he can get. He got a little taste of the big leagues last year. He got beat up a little bit, but I'll be interested to see how he reacts now."
Exposito, who ranked third in the Eastern League with 94 RBIs last year, is expected to split time with Mark Wagner at Pawtucket in 2011.