"I'm sure we're signing Stephen to go out there and play," Pedroia said. "Iggy, I'm sure he understands that. He understands he needs to get better and there are things he needs to work on. I haven't talked to Iggy since we signed Drew, but that's a part of the game."
Pedroia dealt with a similar situation in 2006.
The Red Sox knew Pedroia would be a major contributor in Boston at some point, but the club realized he needed more time in the minors to hone his skills. So that offseason, the Red Sox traded for veteran infielder Mark Loretta to bridge the gap until Pedroia was ready.
"At first I was upset, but in the long run I think it helped me become a better player," Pedroia said. "I needed to go to Triple-A and learn, and it was the best thing for me. Things work out for a reason, and, hopefully, he uses that motivation to get better, to become smarter and to learn how to play the game better.
"He wants to learn and that's why everybody around thinks he's going to be a good one, because he wants to learn. I mean, he came from Cuba and he learned English in a year. He picks up things quick, and that's not easy. He needs to learn and he's definitely willing to do it. He came out to Arizona and worked his butt off for the three days I was with him. He's going to put in the time."
ESPNBoston | Dustin Pedroia likes what he sees
Nice to see some optimism on the Stephen Drew front, considering I was a little less enthusiastic.
I'm starting to think Jose Iglesias won't really be given a shot to start at short at the major league level. This is not to say that's unfair -- he hasn't progressed enough with the bat, for sure, to quell the hesitations about his offensive ability.
Meanwhile, the consensus best prospect in the Sox system, Xander Bogaerts has an ETA of 2014 (per SoxProspects). Iglesias certainly won't stand in the way of that. Even if he hits .300 at AAA, or Drew misses time and Iglesias plays well at the major league level, the Sox will want to see what they have in Xander. In his case, the offense is likely fine, it's the defense that the organization will be evaluating. And with Will Middlebrooks on the hot corner presumably for the next five or six years, there's even more pressure to make Xander work at short.
On a mostly-unrelated-but-troubling-enough-to-mention note: Matt Collins pointed out on Twitter that Pedroia, the apple of Red Sox Nation's eye, has played fewer games per season in his career than JD Drew, one of the more hated good players I can remember, did in his time in Boston. Collins unfairly included Pedroia's rookie season (31 games); if you take that out Pedroia averages 137.5 to Drew's 121. Nonetheless, is it a concern that our most important player misses 25 games per season? I say yes.