Ciriaco continues to rip through Yankees pitchers

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Ciriaco continues to rip through Yankees pitchers

BOSTON Pedro Ciriaco, Yankee Killer.

Ciriaco cant explain it, but perhaps it defies explanation or analysis. In nine career games against the Yankees, all this season, he is 17-for-35, batting .486, with seven RBI, 11 runs scored, and four stolen bases against the Yankees. Five of his 13 multi-hit games this season have come against the Yankees.

I don't know, he said. I just try and hit the ball and the ball find the hole.

In Tuesdays series-opening win at Fenway Park, Ciriaco went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored, including the game-winning run. The run gave the Sox just their third walk-off win of the season.

It's a big night for us, for the team, Ciriaco said. We're happy we got the win tonight.

With one out in the ninth, Ciriaco started the game-winning rally with a single to left, taking second on Mike Aviles' single to shortstop. On Jacoby Ellsbury single to right field, Ciriaco raced around third, sliding home with the winning run ahead of the throw from Ichiro Suzuki.

Ill take Ciris speed and the deep right field at Fenway, Ill take Ciris speed any day," Jacoby Ellsbury said. "Hes been playing great for us. Hes been huge all season and there again in the ninth inning getting on. Once he got to second I knew any ball hit in the outfield he was scoring with his speed.

Ciriaco has certainly opened more than a few eyes this season, beginning in spring training. In 56 games with the Sox, he has hit .306, going 11-for-11 in stolen base attempts, with 27 runs scored, a .414 slugging percentage, and .321 on-base percentage, while playing third base, second, shortstop, and all three outfield positions. On Tuesday, at third base, he made a couple of nifty plays to rob the Yankees of hits.

The play he made on the ball down the line I didnt think there was any chance he could make that play and the diving backhanded play and James Loney at first base picking it on the other end, that was a highlight play, said manager Bobby Valentine. Ciriacos played well at third base. For a guy whos never played there before and we didnt know if he could, hes played well. Started double plays and really made that play coming in very well.

Like many of his teammates, Ciriaco had been struggling coming into the game. In eight games in September, he was hitting just .111 going 3-for-27 as his average dropped from .333 to .301.

He was struggling a little bit I heard coming in, said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. But, he hits a ball at his shoe tops to lead off the ninth. I mean he just finds a way against us.

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

PHOENIX - Major League Baseball intends to push forward with the process that could lead to possible rule changes involving the strike zone, installation of pitch clocks and limits on trips to the pitcher's mound. While baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope the ongoing process would lead to an agreement, he said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Union head Tony Clark said last weekend he did not foresee players agreeing to proposed changes for 2017. Under baseball's collective bargaining agreement, management can alter playing rules only with agreement from the union - unless it gives one year notice. With the one year of notice, management can make changes on its own.

"Unfortunately it now appears that there really won't be any meaningful change for the 2017 season due to a lack of cooperation from the MLBPA," Manfred said Tuesday during a news conference. "I've tried to be clear that our game is fundamentally sound, that it does not need to be fixed as some people have suggested, and I think last season was the kind of demonstration of the potential of our league to captivate the nation and of the game's unique place in American culture."

Yet, he also added: "I believe it's a mistake to stick our head in the sand and ignore the fact that our game has changed and continues to change."

Manfred said while he prefers an agreement, "I'm also not willing to walk away." He said he will send a letter to the union in the coming days and plans to continue dialogue with Clark and others in hopes of reaching agreement.

Clark met with Cactus League teams last week, five at a time over Thursday, Friday and Saturday, before departing Monday for Florida to visit each Grapefruit League club - and proposed rules changes were a topic.

"I have great respect for the labor relations process, and I have a pretty good track record for getting things done with the MLBPA," Manfred said. "I have to admit, however, that I am disappointed that we could not even get the MLBPA to agree to modest rule changes like limits on trips to the mound that have little effect on the competitive character of the game."

Clark saw talks differently.

"Unless your definition of `cooperation' is blanket approval, I don't agree that we've failed to cooperate with the commissioner's office on these issues," he wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this offseason we've been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened. I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don't continue, notwithstanding today's comments about implementation. As I've said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open."

Clark added "my understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2-minute limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of game warning/fine adjustments."

Manfred said he didn't want to share specifics of his priorities for alterations.

"There's a variety of changes that can be undertaken," Manfred said. "I'm committed to the idea that we have a set of proposals out there and we continue to discuss those proposals in private."

MLB has studied whether to restore the lower edge of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level - at the top of the kneecap. Management would like to install 20-second pitch clocks in an attempt to speed the pace of play - they have been used at Triple-A and Double-A for the past two seasons.

Players also have been against limiting mound meetings. The least controversial change appears to be allowing a team to call for an intentional walk without the pitcher having to throw pitches. In addition, MLB likely can alter some video review rules without the union's agreement- such as shortening the time a manager has to call for a review.

"Most of this stuff that they were talking about I don't think it would have been a major adjustment for us," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Manfred said starting runners on second base in extra innings sounds unlikely to be implemented in the majors. The change will be experimented with during the World Baseball Classic and perhaps at some short-season Class A leagues. Manfred said it was a special-purpose rule "beneficial in developmental leagues."

Manfred also said Tuesday that a renovated Wrigley Field would be a great choice to host an All-Star Game and Las Vegas could be a "viable market for us."

"I don't think that the presence of legalized gambling in Las Vegas should necessarily disqualify that market as a potential major league city," Manfred said.

Massarotti: '0% chance Ortiz comes out of retirement'

Massarotti: '0% chance Ortiz comes out of retirement'

Tony Massarotti in the Cumberland Farms lounge believes there is 0% chance David Ortiz comes out of retirement.