BOSTON -- After spending seven full seasons in the Minor Leagues, 28-year-old Jonathan Diaz at last experienced the culmination of his dreams on Saturday, when he started at third base for the Boston Red Sox.
With Stephen Drew experiencing a hamstring strain on Friday, the Red Sox needed an infielder for a couple of days. Given a variety of circumstances, the most sensible option at Triple-A Pawtucket was Diaz, who played in 763 Minor League games before getting a surprise promotion on Saturday.
Diaz, wearing No. 76, batted ninth in manager John Farrell's lineup.
"It was an amazing feeling," said Diaz. "You can imagine something you work for your whole life and I actually got the opportunity to do it, and it's just very exciting."
In Boston's 6-2 loss, Diaz wound up going 0-for-3 and was robbed of his first hit and likely RBI on a terrific diving play by Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus in the fifth inning.
He was also involved in one of the key plays of the game in the seventh. The Red Sox asked Diaz to drop down a safety squeeze, which he did. But Jarrod Saltalamacchia was thrown out at the plate.
"I wanted to get the guy in. I felt like it should have been more to the right to make sure the run scored," Diaz said.
Diaz didn't have to wait long before the ball found him in the field, making the first play of the game on a grounder to third by Jose Reyes.
Diaz, who is kindly listed at 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds (Dustin Pedroia probably has an inch or two on him), has stayed in pro ball through his work ethic and defensive versatility.
His familiarity with Farrell and Red Sox coaches Torey Lovullo and Brian Butterfield were beneficial in this case. Diaz was drafted by the Blue Jays in 2006 and stayed with that organization until signing with Boston as a Minor League free agent on Dec. 7, 2012. Diaz was with the Red Sox during Spring Training.
"He's had a full career around the infield, and he's a guy that's well aware of our system," said Farrell. "He's had experience with Butter, myself and Torey in Toronto last year as well as this Spring Training here with us. In fact, this is a guy who has worked probably seven to eight years to get to the big leagues, and this will be a special day for him."
Diaz had been relaxing at his Rhode Island home with his wife and three daughters when the call came that the Red Sox needed him at Fenway Park. It then became a whirlwind Saturday afternoon for Diaz.
"I tried to call my parents," said Diaz. "They are out of the country. But I don't even remember, honestly, it was such a whirlwind. I called my family and friends as soon as I could on the way over here."
Diaz is a .228 career hitter in the Minors with 14 homers and 245 RBIs.
To make room for Diaz on the roster, the Red Sox designated long man Clayton Mortensen for assignment.
Sox optimistic Drew can avoid DL; Mortensen DFA'd
BOSTON -- A day after Stephen Drew had to exit Friday's game with tightness in his right hamstring, the Red Sox were optimistic he could avoid going on the disabled list.
But Boston still needed a roster spot to call up infielder Jonathan Diaz, so that led to Clayton Mortensen being designated for assignment.
"Stephen Drew is not a DL situation, so that kept us from bringing [Will] Middlebrooks back, or even being considered," said Sox manager John Farrell. "The other part of this is Diaz can also play shortstop. So there were a number of contributing factors to the decision of both Clayton and Jonathan coming here, so that's where we are today."
After pitching well for the Red Sox in 2012, Mortensen wasn't as reliable this season, posting a 5.34 ERA in 24 games.
"Performance-based, and the fact is, we needed a roster spot," Farrell said. "We couldn't option someone to get Diaz here. Unfortunately Clayton's spot is the one that's been opened up."
Mortensen took the news in stride. While his top preference would be to be claimed by a team that needs his services in the Majors, he said he'd be open to going to Triple-A Pawtucket if nothing else presents itself.
As for Drew, the Red Sox don't know precisely when he'll be back, but they don't think -- at least at this point -- that he'll be out long.
"As we've taken the approach with Shane [Victorino] in the past, and, really, any guy that's day to day, we don't feel like this will get to that midway point of the potential 15 days," said Farrell. "I say that today, but that's the initial read on his hamstring situation. He felt slightly improved this morning. There was less swelling in the right hamstring. We did get him on the treadmill at least to walk, so he's responding favorably to treatment, and some range of motion of exercise is already initiated."
Farrell trying to pick right spots with Bailey
BOSTON -- In a perfect world, the Red Sox would only use Andrew Bailey in low-leverage situations until he gets back in a groove. But on a Major League roster with only so many relievers available on certain days, manager John Farrell sometimes doesn't have a choice.
Such was the case Friday, when Bailey came on with the Sox leading the Blue Jays, 5-4, and served up a solo homer to Edwin Encarnacion. A similar situation developed last weekend in Detroit.
"Well, that's a middle-relief role," Farrell said. "Seventh inning is a middle-relief role. There may be some curiousness as to why he was brought into that game. We've got to get him through the spell he's going through, and I thought he took a step in the right direction last night.
"He got a fastball up to Encarnacion, but I thought his stuff was much better last night than five days ago. He was the most rested, the most experienced. [Junichi] Tazawa had been hot five of the last seven days and was unavailable, so that's why Bailey was in last night."
How will Bailey's usage be determined on a given day?
"Based on who's available, that decision will be made in game," Farrell said.
Red Sox sign second-round pick Stankiewicz
BOSTON -- The Red Sox announced the signing of 19-year-old right-hander Teddy Stankiewicz, their second-round pick from the First-Year Player Draft.
Stankiewicz went 4-5 with a 2.52 ERA in his only season at Seminole State College.
The Keller, Texas, native was selected by the Mets out of high school in the second round of the 2012 Draft.
The Red Sox have signed 19 of the 40 players they selected in this year's Draft, including their top three picks and 16 of the first 19.