Ciriaco hopes to continue to prove his worth

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Ciriaco hopes to continue to prove his worth

FORT MYERS, Fla. Pedro Ciriaco was one of the very few bright lights on a very dim Red Soxscape last season. A virtual unknown, Ciriaco wasted little time last spring making a name for himself. A two-run, walk-off home run in extra innings early in camp set the tone for his spring.

After being called up on July 7 from Triple-A Pawtucket, Ciriaco went on to hit .293 with 16 stolen bases, seventh in the American League, in 76 games for the Sox while playing six positions 35 games at third base, 16 at second, 12 at shorts, three in center field, two in left, and two in right, while serving as the designated hitter in 10.

Ciriaco, 27, who joined the Sox as a minor league free agent in December 2011, set career highs last season in almost every category. After all, he had appeared in a total of just 31 games with the Pirates in 2010-11.

It was pretty good for me, to be able to play a little bit more, he said. Have more chances to prove myself and prove to everybody else I can play in the high level, it was really important to me.

Still, it was important to him that he proved he could do it.

I always know I have the ability to play, he said. I just wanted to prove I could do it and be a little more consistent. So its much better.

This season, Ciriaco will be in much the same role, playing both infield and outfield. But, he knows he still has to prove himself.

Im just fighting for my spot, he said. I dont want to take anything for granted. Just have to be better every day.

Ciriaco played winter ball this offseason, playing for Toros del Este of the Dominican League. He went appeared in just nine games, batting just .192. He had hoped to play more, but a shoulder injury cut his time short. His shoulder is fully healed now, he said, ready for a full season.

But he wouldnt mind having another spring like last year.

I hope so, he said with a smile. I work hard in the offseason to be better this year.

First impressions: A good start for Rodriguez in 6-2 win

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First impressions: A good start for Rodriguez in 6-2 win

BALTIMORE -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 6-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles:

 

Eduardo Rodriguez's first start of the season was a good one.

Rodriguez, making his 2016 debut after a freak knee injury suffered at the beginning of spring training, tossed six innings and allowed two runs on five hits.

He flashed his trademark changeup on a number of occasions, getting a handful of swing-and-misses with it. His fastball velocity, which had been questionable in his rehab outings, was slightly improved.

He wasn't as efficient as the Red Sox would have liked, needing 89 pitches to get through six innings. But again, for his first start, there was little about which to complain.

 

Betts had a decent night at the plate.

Betts cracked three homers for five RBI, nearly single-handedly doing enough offensively to beat the Orioles.

He homered to center in the first, down the left field line in the second and, finally, to right field in the seventh to become the 27th player in Red Sox history to homer three times in one game.

Hitting at the top of the lineup, Betts is on pace to hit 36 homers and knock in more than a 120 runs. The power he generates from a relatively small frame is something to behold.

Betts is now second on the team in RBI -- again, from the top spot in the order, though that's been aided by the fact that Jackie Bradley Jr. has hit eighth or ninth for much of the season, providing Betts with plenty of RBI opportunities.

 

The Chris Young experiment in center worked well for the first night. With Jackie Bradley Jr. on paternity leave, the Sox will keep Mookie Betts in right and have Young play center.

Young was once a full-time center fielder earlier in his career, but in recent years, has been viewed by most as more of a corner outfielder, perhaps without the range to play center.

But Tuesday night, Young did a nice job chasing down a ball hit to the warning track by Adam Jones in the third, then capped it two batters later when he leaped above the wall in center and took away what was likely a two-run homer by Manny Machado.

 

Robbie Ross Jr. has been an overlooked part of the bullpen.

With improved velocity on his fastball, Ross has 24 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings.

Moreover, Ross has allowed just two earned runs over his last 12 games and since April 17 -- about six weeks ago -- he has an ERA of 1.23.

Thought of as a low-leverage long man early in the season, he's earned the trust of the Red Sox to be used in more high-leverage spots as the season has developed.

 

Tuesday's Red Sox-Orioles lineups: E-Rod makes 2016 debut

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Tuesday's Red Sox-Orioles lineups: E-Rod makes 2016 debut

Eduardo Rodriguez makes his 2016 Red Sox debut tonight, and he'll have a different center fielder as he does so.

Jackie Bradley Jr. on paternity leave and Chris Young is taking his place in center. The rest of the lineup, however, remains intact as the Sox face the Orioles in their second game of their four-game series in Baltimore.

The lineups:

RED SOX:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Chris Young CF
Blake Swihart LF
Christian Vazquez C
---
Eduardo Rodriguez P

ORIOLES:
Adam Jones CF
Nolan Reimold LF
Manny Machado SS
Chris Davis 1B
Mark Trumbo DH
Matt Wieters C
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Joey Rickard RF
Paul Janish 3B
---
Kevin Gausman P

 

 

Bradley takes paternity leave; Red Sox recall Castillo

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Bradley takes paternity leave; Red Sox recall Castillo

BALTIMORE -- The Red Sox will be without center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. for the next few days, as he is placed on the paternity-leave list to be with his wife for the birth of their first child.

Rusney Castillo, who was sent to Pawtucket in the second week of the season, has been recalled to take his roster spot. Castillo has a slash line of .241/.302/.317 with the PawSox, with 1 home run and 13 RBI in 37 games. 

Bradley is in the midst of a breakout season with the Red Sox, hitting .331/.409/.601 in 50 games with 9 homers and 37 RBI.