PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. Two players on the proverbial roster bubble continued their hot springs for the Red Sox Sunday in an 84 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Pedro Ciriaco, who has had a torrid spring at the plate, was 1-for-2 with an RBI, leaving him with a .545 batting average in Grapefruit League play.
He has six RBI, placing him second on the team in that category.
"He's a good player," said Bobby Valentine. "I really like him. Guys get hot in spring training, but his hands are there, his arm is there and his speed's there. Those aren't going away and those are all pretty good.
"The little things he does are pretty good and you throw him a fastball and he hits it solid."
Valentine said Ciriaco's spring has gone beyond flukey.
"There's talent there and he's not just pulling the ball," he said. "A lot of times, guys come to spring training and get a lot of hits pulling the ball down the third base line, hitting everything between third and short and lofting fly balls off lousy breaking balls. But he's hitting the ball (everywhere), off all pitches."
That said, Ciriaco is a distinct longshot to make the team.
"I don't have a spot for him right now," said Valentine.
Vicente Padilla was impressive with three innings, allowing a run on five hits while striking out three.
"He's an accurate thrower, his stuff seems to be pretty good," said Valentine. "I like Padilla."
Valentine referenced an at-bat against Tampa Bay first baseman Carlos Pena in which Padilla threw one of his patented slow curves, then followed it with a slider and a fastball.
"Three pitches at 73 mph, 93 mph . . . all strikes . . . I don't think you'll see that very many times," marveled Valentine. "Pretty interesting."
Padilla would seem out of the mix for the rotation, and there may be questions about how well he would hold up in relief, given his history of arm problems.
"We're going to try to find out," said Valentine. "I don't know how the health issues might be related. I've asked a million times and it's everybody's guess.
"The only thing you can rest assured is that, tomorrow morning, he'll probably be throwing the ball 200 feet in the outfield. And that's after three innings and 53 pitches here. That makes you think it's OK."