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.