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Friday, October 24, 2014

Bobby Valentine pinch hits for Jose Iglesias on a 2-2 count

Jose Iglesias is the most promising fielding prospect in the Red Sox farm system, but the shortstop can’t hit. His bat is nowhere close to major league-ready, but Boston’s roster is thin enough right now amid their lost season that guys like Iglesias are being given a chance to prove their worth. After he worked a 2-2 count with a man on base in the top of the seventh on Sunday, Bobby Valentine took that chance away from the young prospect.

The Red Sox manager opted to sit Iglesias down for pinch-hitter Daniel Nava. Again, the count was 2-2 when the move was made. Pedro Ciriaco was on first when Iglesias’ at-bat began but Valentine decided to go with Nava once Ciriaco stole second to get into scoring position.

“Just trying to get a run for Jon (Lester), obviously,” Valentine explained according to WEEI.com. “I told Daniel, if we steal second, you got it. Otherwise, I was all set to play defense in a nothing-nothing game. Once a guy gets to second base, I figured take a shot on a base hit. It’s tough. Jon’s pitching such a good game is what it is. You get him a run there and he wins a ballgame. He’s battling, too. It’s not about one guy. It’s about a whole group of guys.”

Nava grounded out to second on the first pitch he saw and the inning ended. Iglesias is hitting only .071 in the majors this season, but as WEEI pointed out the average American League pinch-hitter has a .203 average this year. Absorbing a 2-2 count to begin an at-bat makes coming through with a hit seem like an impossible task. Valentine said he doesn’t think the decision will shake Iglesias’ confidence.

“I talked to him. He said, ‘Whatever’s right for the team,'” Bobby V. said. “I did let him hit. He went up there. I think there’s a good balance there. … I don’t think that’s a make or break situation. He’s gotten one hit so far. He’ll get the opportunity to get some hits. It’s not kindergarten here.”

At this point it’s almost as if Valentine is getting a charge out of screwing with the general public. Between threatening to punch radio hosts in the mouth and insulting his own roster there’s virtually no chance Bobby V. keeps his job next season — or earns any managerial position again for that matter. Might as well have some fun and pinch-hit for a guy in a 2-2 count while he’s at it.



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