Iglesias off to hot start after struggling in spring
Tigers' No. 9 hitter led American League in batting average through 10 games
By Chris Vannini
Special to MLB.com |
DETROIT -- Despite Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias' struggles at the plate in Spring Training, manager Brad Ausmus remained optimistic. Nearly two weeks into the regular season, Ausmus' faith has been rewarded.
Iglesias batted .135 in the Grapefruit League, including a stretch of 23 at-bats without a hit. However, 10 games into the regular season, Iglesias led the American League with a .484 average (minimum 20 at-bats) and posted an on-base percentage of .529, including Friday's walk-off single to beat the White Sox.
"He was making contact, not striking out," Ausmus said of Iglesias' spring. "If you're making contact and you're hitting .100, there's a bit of a luck factor involved. The swings were good. He was hitting the ball. That's why I wasn't concerned."
Through 35 plate appearances this year, Iglesias struck out just once. Known more for his defensive work in the field, Iglesias has become a second leadoff batter in the No. 9 hole in the lineup.
"He's pretty good at getting the bat to the ball," Ausmus said. "Even down 0-2, he's got a chance to put the ball in play. He's got a very simple approach. There's not a lot of movement involved with his setup and load to hit. He's pretty good at getting the bat there to find a hole."
Iglesias missed the 2014 season with stress fractures in both shins, and his health was a major focus in camp. Could he handle a full workload at shortstop? But Iglesias has played in all of the Tigers' regular-season games so far, and he said he's feeling great.
"I just try to go out there and compete and do my best effort for the team every single day," Iglesias said. "I've been able to play well so far, and the most important thing is I'm healthy, and that's what I'm looking for."
Chris Vannini is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.