Ciriaco's leadership at young age allows for brothers' success

700618.jpg

Ciriaco's leadership at young age allows for brothers' success

The pressure was on Pedro Ciriaco long before he reached Fenway Park.

Not from his coaches, teammates, or management. He put the pressure on himself for his own success and that of his brothers.

Years later, two of them are pursuing their goals of making it in the Major League fueled by ones drive to pave the way.

Growing up in the Dominican Republic, Ciriaco and his two younger siblings shared a bedroom in their familys small home in San Pedro de Macoris. They also shared a dream.

Pedro, Audy, and Moises Ciriaco were raised playing baseball. Their father played locally and encouraged his sons to get involved in the popular sport. At the insistence of their mother, a teacher, the boys put school first. The game was a close second.

Pedro, the oldest by nearly two years, recognized the potential in family. Hoping all three would reach the Major Leagues, he took it upon himself to set a strong example for his siblings to look up to. Pedro believed if he made positive choices, his brothers would do the same.

I tried to do the right thing so they can see it and they can follow me, Pedro said from his locker in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse on Saturday.

Pedro was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks as an amateur free agent in 2003. Two years later, Audy joined the Detroit Tigers organization. In 2007, Moises became the third member of the family in the minors as a member of the Baltimore Orioles system. In a matter of four years, the Ciriaco brothers had left the Dominican Republic to begin their careers in the United States.

The eldest sibling spent seven seasons in the Minor Leagues before making his big league debut on September 8, 2010. By then, Pedro was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played two seasons for the team before signing with the Red Sox as a free agent in January.

The shortstop spent the first half of the season with the Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA) before being called up to Fenway Park last week for the series against the New York Yankees. In his first three games with the Red Sox, he recorded seven hits, four runs, four RBIs, and two stolen bases with a batting average of .538.

Although Moises five-year run with the Orioles organization ended after the 2011 season, Audy continued his pursuit like Pedro this year as a third baseman on the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens.

Prior to his call up, Pedro faced off against Audy for eight minor league games in May. The PawSox went 1-3 in the first series and 3-1 in the second. Box scores aside, Pedro relished in the chance to play against his brother in what he hopes was a precursor to match ups in the Majors.

It was fun. Any time I get a chance to play against my brother, its an opportunity not a lot of guys get to do, he said. I hope I can play against my brother in the big leagues and I hope my dad and my mom can watch us play. Its going to be like a dream.

Pedros parents still live in the Dominican Republic. They traveled to Pittsburgh to catch one of Pedros games last season, though he would like them to be in attendance more often.

He returns home every offseason and got his own apartment for the first time last winter. Pedro made sure his new place is close enough to his parents' house that he can visit his family frequently.

Its hard all the time, he said. When I grew up, I lived with my family. Its hard to be away from them. But Ive got to stay strong. Its a job I picked. I have to do it.

Not only did Pedro choose to become a professional baseball player, he also carried the responsibility of making a path for his two younger brothers to follow as well. There are times when he feels the pressures that he has placed upon himself. Thats when he appreciates Audy is in a similar situation and can relate. The two talk several times a week through text messages and telephone calls.

More importantly, Pedro recognizes the self-assigned role will not be easy. Understanding there will be obstacles along the way helps him to stay focused and ready for his next challenge.

Being the oldest one, you try do the right things so they can follow me, he said. But sometimes its hard. You try to do everything perfect. It can be tough. Were human. Sometimes we make mistakes but weve got to learn from them and use them to step forward.