Tuesday March 09, 2010 | 09:14 AM

Before shortstop Jose Iglesias gets to Cooperstown, he will likely have to go through Portland.

Iglesias, 20, is the Cuban defector who the Red Sox signed for over $8-million. His abilities were largely a mystery to Red Sox fans until he showed up to spring training. So far, there is nothing not to like. Despite his status, Iglesias appears humble, mature and eager to learn.

His fielding is reportedly a wonder and, while his batting was supposedly a weakness, he is handling himself fine this month. He is batting .286 and hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning on Monday. The much respected Gordon Edes of ESPN/Boston suggested that the Red Sox start Iglesias in the majors this year. Edes also knows that Boston will be more cautious and send him to the minors.

Where will Iglesias begin? The early word out of Fort Myers was that Iglesias will be eased into pro ball with a a start in advanced Class A Salem (Va.). Maybe that would help him adjust (and avoid an April in Maine). But if Iglesias continues to shine, the Red Sox might just go ahead and send him to the great north, where Hadlock Field fans won't mind a bit watching the latest sensation.

While Iglesias was one of the batting stars on Monday, others included past and future Sea Dogs. Outfielder Che-Hsuang Lin, expected in Portland next month, had the game-winning RBI. Lin is 1-for-5 in spring training, but also has three walks. Lin's bat is expected to be a continued work in progress, but the Red Sox praise his plate discipline (file 'plate discipline' under one of many Red Sox mantras, like 'run prevention').

Former Sea Dogs outfielder Josh Reddick had himself a day Monday with a RBI triple and a RBI double. You know the triple was hit well (to deep right center) because it scored David Ortiz from first. Reddick is batting .385 this spring. Yes, it's early, but it is good to see Reddick off to a nice start. Much is made of Boston signing Jeremy Hermida as the fourth outfielder and an insurance against injury. But if there is an outfield opening, Reddick will be the one called up from Pawtucket. He got a taste of the majors last year and, as he matures, will surely get a chance to stay up there some day.

A couple injury notes: Reliever Dustin Richardson is said to be suffering from a "fatigued" quad muscle and was shut down for now ... Outfielder Zach Daeges, who has fought injuries for so long, was sent from major league camp to the minors because of a strained back muscle.

About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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