Red Sox

Surprised, excited Iglesias makes big-league debut

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Surprised, excited Iglesias makes big-league debut

By Maureen Mullen and Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- It was quite a day for Jose Iglesias, the phenom shortstop from Cuba whom the Red Sox signed as an international free agent less than two years ago.

With Marco Scutaro (oblique strain) placed on the disabled list, the Sox recalled Iglesias from Pawtucket. And he made his major-league debut on his first day, playing the ninth inning as a defensive replacement for Jed Lowrie in Boston's 9-5 win over the Twins.

I though the timing was good, said manager Terry Francona. Let him get out there, let him get some nerves out of the way and let him be part of what were doing. It worked out well.

Scutaro tried to ease those nerves by playing a prank on Iglesias just before he was put into the game. He hid the youngsters glove behind the camera man.

Iglesias could do nothing but laugh afterwards, and said he enjoyed the moment.

For me, its a huge thrill and an honor to be playing here, said Iglesias. Especially at such a young age.

Iglesias arrival in the big leagues is ahead of schedule. Yamaico Navarro, who appeared in 20 games for the Red Sox last season, would have gotten the call but was placed on the DL last week with an oblique strain.

We talked to Iglesias a little bit this morning, Francona said before the game. I think we all think hes got a really bright future here. I dont think right now is his time to be starting at shortstop . . . Let him learn the atmosphere, whats expected of him. Hopefully itll be real good for his development.

While his primary position is shortstop, Francona said Iglesias could play other positions as well.

I think so. I hope so, he said. I know he played third in the Arizona Fall League. His hands are good enough to be anywhere and his instincts. Infield coach Tim Bogar will get him out there and move him around a little bit. The one thing you dont want to do is put him in a situation where hes uncomfortable. I think hed probably be okay anywhere.

Iglesias was surprised when he got the call Saturday night from Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler that he was going to Boston.

It wasnt something that I was expecting, he said. I just got a call after the game from Arnie . . . and they gave me the news. So it came as a shock.

Although his English is very good, Iglesias spoke through Eddie Romero, the teams assistant director of Latin American operations, with the media.

Very glad, very appreciative of being given the opportunity to help out this team here in Boston, he said.

Its obviously a very special day for me but even more so being Mothers Day. I get to share it with a lot of Moms out there. But its a tremendous thrill for me to be here and well see what happens.

Iglesias tried to call his mother in Cuba before the game to tell her the news, but was unable to get through. He expected to see his wife, his infant son and his father, all of whom are in Pawtucket, after the game.

A defensive whiz, he was hitting .253 (22-for-87) with four RBI, 17 strikeouts, and two walks, for Pawtucket when he was called up.

Mike Cameron greeted Iglesias, saying Hey, caballito little horse. Iglesias is familiar with his teammates from being in the organization for almost two seasons and being in spring training for two years.

Its like a family here, he said. Ive been around and I know most of these guys pretty well through spring training. So theres no level of discomfort here. I feel very comfortable with all the guys in the clubhouse.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

ALCS: Judge home run sparks New York, Yankees beat Astros 6-4 to even series

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ALCS: Judge home run sparks New York, Yankees beat Astros 6-4 to even series

NEW YORK -  With a soaring shot headed for Yankee Stadium's Monument Park, Aaron Judge got New York back on track for another memorable October.

Judge ignited a rousing rally with a home run, then doubled during a four-run eighth inning to spur the unflappable New York Yankees over the Houston Astros 6-4 Tuesday night and tie the AL Championship Series 2-2.

The Baby Bombers trailed 4-0 against starter Lance McCullers Jr. until Judge homered leading off the seventh. He tied it with a line drive that nearly left the park in the eighth and scored when Gary Sanchez hit a go-ahead two-run double off loser Ken Giles.

The Yankees overcame three errors and have roared back from a second straight 0-2 series deficit - they beat Cleveland in the Division Series by winning three in a row to take that best-of-five matchup.

Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth to cap a three-hitter. New York improved to 5-0 at home in the playoffs and won for the 18th time in their last 21 home games.

Yankee Stadium will be rocking again when Masahiro Tanaka pitches for New York against Dallas Keuchel in Game 5 Wednesday. It's a rematch of the series opener, when Keuchel outdid the Japanese right-hander in a 2-1 Astros win.

An AL MVP candidate marred in a sluggish October, Judge sparked the Yankees by chasing McCullers, who baffled the Yankees with his power breaking ball.

Except for the last one.

Judge launched a curveball into the netting above center field's Monument Park for New York's second hit.

"Once we're within striking distance like that, anything can happen," Judge said.

Houston manager A.J. Hinch pulled McCullers after 81 pitches, Didi Gregorius tripled off Chris Devenski and Sanchez brought Gregorius in with a sacrifice fly.

"I thought Aaron's home run just lit a little spark," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Todd Frazier led off the eighth with a double to left, and pinch hitter Chase Headley then did the same - only after falling between first and second base, taking one step back, then heading for second and sliding in ahead of Jose Altuve's tag.

"Panic," Headley recalled. "I went from one of the best feelings of my career to one of the worst in just a matter of seconds, but fortunately it worked out."

Brett Gardner brought in Frazier on a groundout, and Judge came to bat with the bundled crowd on its feet.

He reached down to stay with a slider and drilled a double high off the left-field wall as a fan in a longsleeve yellow shirt reached down and touched the ball. Gardner came home with the tying run, and Gregorius grounded a single just beyond shortstop Carlos Correa's reach to put runners at the corner. Sanchez, who had been 0 for 13 in the series, scored them both with a slicing drive that skipped to the wall in right-center.

Houston had not lost consecutive games since Sept. 8-10 at Oakland and the major leagues' best road record during the regular season. The Astros had just three hits and are hitting .153 in the series.

Yankees starter Sonny Gray pitched one-hit ball through five innings but again had no run support. His teammates have yet to score for him in four career postseason starts while he's still on the mound, including twice with New York this year.

Houston took a 3-0 lead in the sixth after George Springer walked leading off, and Josh Reddick reached on catcher's interference by Austin Romine - inserted into lineup for his defense.

Robertson walked Altuve and struck out Carlos Correa before Yuri Gurriel lined a three-run double past Frazier and all the way to the wall. Gurriel got hung up between second and third as Altuve scored, and he was tagged out by Judge to end a rundown.

Houston added a fourth run when second baseman Starlin Castro misplayed Brian McCann's grounder in the seventh, allowing Marwin Gonzalez to score from second. It was Castro's second error of the game.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Ron Gardenhire to interview with Red Sox Wednesday

Ron Gardenhire to interview with Red Sox Wednesday

BOSTON — Diamondbacks bench coach Ron Gardenhire's interview for Red Sox manager is scheduled for Wednesday, a baseball source told NBC Sports Boston. He'll be the third to interview for John Farrell's old job, following favorite Alex Cora on Sunday and Brad Ausmus on Monday — and may be the last to interview as well. 

The Sox could move quickly from here. Announcing hiring is tricky this time of year, because MLB doesn't want personnel moves to detract from the playoffs. 

But if Cora ends up the choice, as is most likely, his introduction is further complicated by the fact that his team, Houston, is still playing — and could be playing in the World Series.

MORE:

Cora, who would be a first-time manager unlike Ausmus and Gardenhire, is close with Red Sox second baseman and leader Dustin Pedroia and is drawing interest across the game.

Gardenhire would be something of a safe hiring, considering his 13 years as manager of the Minnesota Twins. A few days shy of his 60th birthday, Gardenhire would have to prove he could handle a vastly different market than Minnesota, and also connect with players despite being older than both Ausmus (48) and Cora (41). 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE