By Ashley Dunkak
DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – Detroit Tiger Jose Iglesias will watch himself on SportsCenter. That much he admits.
The 24-year-old shortstop quickly adds, though, that he has a long way to go before he can compare with another member of the Tigers organization – new first base coach and 24-year major league veteran Omar Vizquel.
A solid player who made a flurry of spectacular plays in his rookie season, Iglesias seemed thrilled about the prospect of learning from the future Hall of Famer who played the same spot Iglesias does.
Vizquel, an 11-time Gold Glove winner, is widely recognized as one of the best shortstops ever. Vizquel received glowing reviews from new third baseman Nick Castellanos Thursday, and Iglesias expressed similar sentiments.
“It’s a pleasure,” Iglesias said. “I’m going to try to take some ground balls with him. That would be really fun.
“It’s amazing,” Iglesias continued. “He’s still in the best shape ever … He still can play.”
Vizquel did play until age 45, and he just retired from playing after the 2012 season. The Tigers will have an almost entirely new infield in 2014 – Castellanos at third instead of Miguel Cabrera, Iglesias at shortstop instead of Jhonny Peralta, Ian Kinsler at second instead of Omar Infante, and Cabrera at first instead of Prince Fielder. With Vizquel’s expertise in addition to those moves, Detroit’s defense is expected to improve dramatically in 2014.
Iglesias certainly made himself comfortable at Comerica Park after arriving midway through the 2013 season, but he said he has not explored too much of the nightlife of the city. Between spring training, regular season and postseason, baseball gets pretty tiring, he said.
Plus, he has someone special with whom he wants to spend his time.
“I’ve got a two-years-old, beautiful son,” Iglesias said, “so I would love to spend time with him.”
Iglesias said his son already has a bat and ball and can throw well. However, he said he will not be pressing the child to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“I’m not pushing at it,” Iglesias said. “If you wants to be a dancer, he will be a dancer. If he wants to be a singer, he will be a singer.”
The young shortstop will be seeing lots of admiring young faces in days to come as the Tigers make their rounds and interact with fans at Tigerfest at Comerica this Saturday.
“It will be fun,” Iglesias said. “Just to see a kid smile is priceless.”
Having people appreciate his efforts and tell him they are proud of him is something Iglesias does not take for granted.
“That’s pretty impressive,” Iglesias said. “That’s pretty exciting for me … It’s what it’s all about.”