Q&A with Ochoa on prospect Iglesias

March, 1, 2010
3/01/10
11:16
AM ET
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias has been very impressive during camp, both on and off the field.

The organization decided it would be best to have Red Sox staff assistant Alex Ochoa take Iglesias under his wing for the 2010 season. Ochoa, who was born and raised in Miami, is of Cuban decent, like Iglesias, and played eight years in the majors.

Below is a brief Q&A with Ochoa on Iglesias:

Q: What was your initial reaction when you first met Iglesias?

A: “He’s a smart kid, a great kid, a lot of energy. He loves to play the game and has a lot of passion to get better every day. He’s flashy and that you can tell off the bat, but it’s in a good nature with the way he played in Cuba where he grew up. His confidence level is really good. For the most part, he’s just a great kid.”

Q: What is your role going to be in terms of helping Iglesias?

A: “Basically teach him how to play here, and the difference between Cuba and here. I know the difference and how they play because I’m Cuban and I grew up in the Cuban community and having friends who defected. And I know the style of play. They play with a lot of style in Cuba and the fans love it.

“Here is more reserved, but that’s not to say guys here can’t be flashy. We want guys to be consistent, play the game the right way and respect your teammates. I’ll be teaching him that kind of stuff. We won’t take away from how he plays, because you don’t want to limit him. You want him to feel comfortable as well.”

Q: At what level will Iglesias start the season?

A: “We don’t know, yet. It probably depends how spring training goes. He had a really good Fall League for being his first exposure to professional baseball. It’s a pretty high league for his first year.”

Q: Is Iglesias as comfortable around big league players in camp as it seems?

A: “He just loves to play the game and wants to be a major leaguer so bad. He feels comfortable and he knows he’s confident in his skills. He still has stuff to learn, but he’s really confident what he can do and that’s what makes him comfortable around the guys.

“Also, he wants to be around those guys because he wants to learn and see what they do and how they interact. He specifically wanted to meet [Dustin] Pedroia for the longest time. He just wants to learn how the big leaguers do it. “

Q: Was he scared or nervous coming into camp?

A: “Obviously he’s nervous in certain situation because you don’t know what to expect. I think he’s a little nervous when he’s in a situation when he has to talk English, even though he’s done an unbelievable job learning a lot of English during his time here. He’ll also try to fight that fear and try stuff in English. He’s learning quicker because he’s throwing himself out there.”

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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