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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Boston Red Sox's roster underwent a significant change Monday that went beyond third baseman Will Middlebrooks being activated from the disabled list.
Jose Iglesias is going nowhere. The 23-year-old Cuban, bitterly disappointed when he was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket back in April, is on the major league roster for the forseeable future, and in a role that goes beyond being a spare part.
Manager John Farrell said that Iglesias will play at least three times a week on the left side of the infield, which means he'll be sharing time at third with Middlebrooks and on occasion, perhaps once a week according to Farrell, will spell veteran Stephen Drew at shortstop.
The Red Sox announced just before game time that infielder Pedro Ciriaco, who did not travel with the team, has been designated for assignment to make space on the roster for Middlebrooks' return. Middlebrooks was in Monday's lineup against Tampa Bay, batting eighth and playing third.
The Red Sox had come into this season maintaining they preferred that Iglesias play every day rather than keeping him on the bench. But Iglesias' performance while Middlebrooks was on the DL with a lower back strain obviously altered the club's thinking.
Iglesias is batting .444 (24 for 54) since his recall May 24, with five doubles, two home runs and 10 runs scored.
Middlebrooks is back after a five-game rehab assignment with Pawtucket, in which he posted a line of .294/.429/.647. He hit two home runs and drew four walks.
"Will answered a lot of questions, particularly physical, which were quickly put behind him, and I think [the rehab gave him] a chance to get 15-plus at-bats, to get a little timing, rhythm going," Farrell said.
"I've also mentioned to both he and Jose, we're going to do everything we can to get [Iglesias] three days a week on the left side of the infield and everyone is aware of that plan going forward."