Don’t be surprised to start seeing stories on Sea Dogs outfielder Alex Hassan popping up more.

Hassan, 23, has become a surprise prospect, a 20th-round draft pick who batted .287 in Class A last year.

He’s from Massachusetts, born in Quincy, raised in Milton.

And Hassan is good, demonstrating the plate discipline and offensive ability the Red Sox love. He works the count, and will settle for a walk. He also leads the Eastern League with a .369 average.

One interesting comparison is to look at Kevin Youkilis’ first 30 games in Double-A ball. He was 23 when promoted to Trenton in July 2002, a season before Portland became the Red Sox affiliate.

Youkilis batted .333 (35 for 105) with 26 walks, eight doubles, four home runs and a .466 on-base percentage.

Hassan after 30 games: .369 (41 for 111) with 21 walks, 12 doubles, one home run and a .471 on-base percentage.

Hassan was drafted as a pitcher out of Duke, but after watching him bat in the Cape Cod League, the Red Sox focused on his offense.

At Duke, Hassan worked on pitching as much as hitting. Now he can concentrate.

“I’m more focused on one position,” he said. “I have a better idea at the plate.”

JOSE IGLESIAS made his major league debut Sunday and his first start Wednesday.

Iglesias, the Sea Dogs’ shortstop last year, is filling in for the injured Marco Scutaro.

“It’s fun to be here with these guys and help the team any way that I can. That’s why I’m here,” said Iglesias.

The Red Sox pound the notion into their players — their call-up to the majors may be a cause for celebration but they better not lose sight why they are there.

After Iglesias scored the winning run as a pinch runner in the 11th inning of Monday’s game, he was subdued.

“The team won. I’m excited about that,” he said.

Before his interview Iglesias was talking with his clubhouse neighbor, Jed Lowrie, asking what to pack for the trip to Toronto.

There’s a lot for a rookie to learn, on and off the field.

“That’s my I’m here,” he said. “Watch the game — you learn something every game.”

In his Wednesday start, he went 0 for 3.

TOUGH LUCK for Yamaico Navarro, who was batting .329 in Pawtucket and likely would have been called up to replace Scutaro. But Navarro strained an oblique muscle and instead of going to the majors, went to Fort Myers, Fla., for rehab.

CARL CRAWFORD, unlike Iglesias, isn’t looking to the future. His time is now, despite a .156 batting average in April.

Crawford said he wanted to forget the month happened.

So far, so good. In May, Crawford is batting 200 points better (.356), through Thursday with two walk-off RBI hits.

“Looks like things are starting to slow down a little bit for him,” Manager Terry Francona said. “Everything was so rushed. He’s seeing the ball better.”

Francona also said Crawford’s exaggerated open stance caused a problem.

“He would get in that big open stance and when he would get back to square, I think it was taking him a little longer than he realized. He would get that foot down and the ball was already coming across the plate.”

IN THE 2006 DRAFT, after choosing outfielder Jason Place, the Red Sox picked four pitchers — Daniel Bard, Kris Johnson, Caleb Clay and Justin Masterson.

Bard, of course, is a key set-up reliever in the Sox bullpen and possible future closer.

Masterson, traded to Cleveland in the Victor Martinez deal, is 5-1 with a 2.73 ERA for the Indians.

Johnson did fine in Portland in 2008 (3.63 ERA) but has struggled in Triple-A, with a 10.61 ERA out of the bullpen this year.

Clay, 23, was the only one out of the four chosen out of high school. After Tommy John surgery in 2007, he has worked his way to Portland this season, where he has moved to a relief role.

The adjustment to Double-A has been difficult (13 earned runs in 12 innings). Manager Kevin Boles and pitching coach Bob Kipper said Clay’s mechanics are fine and his stuff, which includes a sinking fastball, still works.

Clay agrees.

“It’s been a rough start so far,” he said. “The numbers really don’t portray how I’ve thrown. I think I’ve thrown all right.

“Rough start but a long season ahead of me.”

Place, by the way, was released in spring training and later signed by the New York Yankees.

Place, 23, has been assigned to Class A Tampa, batting .200 in nine games.

ANOTHER RELEASED player in spring training was former Sea Dogs first baseman/outfielder Aaron Bates, 27. The Twins signed him last week and sent him to Triple-A Rochester.

In Bates’ first game Tuesday, he went 3 for 4 with a home run.

In Rochester, Bates joins two former Sea Dogs, Jeff Bailey (2001, ’04-05) and Ray Chang (2010). Chang was just promoted from the Double-A Rock Cats.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

[email protected]