Iglesias offering more than defense in summer camp

The only way to cool down José Iglesias in summer training camp is to offer him a seat in the dugout and keep him there.

Point the big fan at him. Assuming those kind are permitted inside the ballpark.

Iglesias brought a stellar defensive reputation to the organization after signing over the winter. One plus is inadequate when describing him.

He’s treating camp as if trying to make a point about other facets of his game.

Don’t sleep on the bat.

Iglesias collected three more hits in Friday night’s intrasquad game. His back is no longer sore, but he doubled twice when it flared up earlier in camp. He’d line a ball in the gap, hobble to second base and come out for a pinch-runner.

Iglsias-Swings-Orange-Sidebar.jpg“Iggy’s a good hitter and he’s been a good hitter for a while now and I love the way he uses the whole field,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “He’s a line drive hitter, he’s got some sneaky power, he’s going to give you a professional at-bat and that’s what he did in that two-game series. Really squared balls up and took some great at-bats.

“He’s been doing that since spring training, he’s been doing that in his career and fortunate to have him.”

Iglesias has blended in since his first day in Sarasota and other infielders study his work at shortstop. He’s registered a 7.0 dWAR in eight seasons per Baseball-Reference.com.

“It’s good,” Hanser Alberto said recently when asked about having Iglesias on the club.

“Iglesias is a really good teammate and he’s a hard worker. He’s a smart guy, so he can teach a lot of stuff. He’s been in this game for a really long time and I think he’s going to teach us a lot. He’s a smart guy, like I said. He knows the game and it’s good to have him on our team.”

* Hyde sat behind home plate for last night’s casual intrasquad. Executive vice president/general manager was positioned a few rows behind him.

A familiar setup at summer training camp.

Hyde is used to having his family with him. His son, Colten, has served as bat boy in spring training and made road trips during the season.

The coronavirus pandemic won’t allow such interactions this summer. It’s a painful but necessary adjustment.

“It’s been tough family-wise,” Hyde said. “I haven’t seen my family since I’ve been here. I don’t know when I will, to be honest with you.

“My son is in Little League right now. They crammed about 50 games into about 50 days in Chicago, so he’s got a game almost every night and I don’t want to pull him away from that because the season’s so short and that’s what he loves to do. We’re all going to be living with that adjustment of being away from home. For a lot of us, we’re already away from home, but it’s going to be a lot harder to have our families travel in on the road to see us. It’s just going to be very, very difficult this year.

“Fortunately we got to spend an extra couple months of really quality family time. It was nice to be home and to be around the kids and my wife and the family for that time. But right now, it’s just a lot different, for sure, and I know a lot of our guys are feeling the same way.”

* The Blue Jays have been denied approval by the Canadian government to play in Toronto amid the pandemic.

They had received clearance by city and provincial governments to play games at Rogers Centre, and the Orioles were scheduled for visits on Aug. 28-31 and Sept. 25-27.

The games could be moved to Buffalo. Playing them in Dunedin, Fla. sounds like a really bad idea.

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