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.

Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics

red-sox-matt-barnes.jpg

Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics

BOSTON — Matt Barnes has been coping with more than just a few bad outings on the mound, and he’s asking for help.

The Red Sox set-up man made some mechanical corrections that paid off in the eighth inning Monday night, when he struck out all three Twins he faced in a 4-1 Red Sox win at Fenway Park.

“I just simplified the mechanics,” Barnes said afterward. “Two days ago, I was trying to get with more of an up, down, and out approach. I felt better in that outing. I know I gave up a run and walked the one guy, but I felt better around the zone. And then just kind of went into a slide step, doing what Andrew Miller was doing.”

Barnes allowed four runs spanning his previous three outings, retiring just four batters while walking five. But Barnes has had a lot more to worry about than just a brief professional rut. 

He’s been devoted to helping his girlfriend, Chelsea, through the unexpected loss of her father, who was diagnosed with cancer and suffered a stroke

"Her father passed away [May 27]. That’s why I wasn’t in Baltimore for the two days [in early June], I was at his funeral,” Barnes said. "It’s tough, dealing with that, and she’s obviously having a hard time with it. She’s got her good days and her bad days. But it’s not easy. He was sick for a little while, and unexpectedly passed a lot faster than anybody ever expected him to. So, it’s been tough. She’s been alright, considering.”

There are a ton of medical bills still to be paid. A fundraising page has been set up to help the family with some large medical bills, and Barnes has asked on Twitter for people to spread the word if they’re able to.

“I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with her which is nice,” Barnes said of his girlfriend. “Everybody who’s helped out with donations and spreading the page, I couldn’t be more grateful, and she couldn’t be more grateful.”

Barnes is a big leaguer, but he’s still young and making the major league minimum. For every $1,000 total donated, Barnes plans to send a signed baseball to a random donor.

“I felt like it was a nice way, if they’re going to help me out, I can at least do that in return for them,” Barnes said.

Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1

Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1

BOSTON -- The way Chris Sale and the Boston relievers were pitching, the Red Sox didn't need to score a lot.

Sale went 6 1/3 overpowering innings with nine strikeouts, Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer for the third straight game and the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 4-1 on Monday in a matchup of two of the AL's top teams.

"When you've got him on the mound, all you need is a couple and he's going to do the rest," Moreland said. "Obviously, tonight was another example of that."

Dustin Pedroia had two hits and drove in a run and Moreland added a sacrifice fly for Boston, which kept pace with the New York Yankees atop the East.

The Red Sox started fast, grabbing a 2-0 lead just four batters into the first.

"When the guys score early for you, it's nice," Sale said. "It settles you down a little bit and allows you to throw strikes."

Coming off a three-game sweep in Cleveland that had jumped them over the Indians into first in the Central, the Twins' offense was stymied by Sale and three relievers. The loss coupled with Cleveland's win over Texas moved the Indians back a half-game ahead.

Sale (10-3) gave up one run and four hits, increasing his major-league strikeout total to 155. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 21st save after Matt Barnes struck out three in the eighth. Heath Hembree faced one batter, getting a double play.

The 6-foot-6 Sale relied on his usual sharp-breaking slider and fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s to fan eight over the first six innings, getting the initial half dozen with his breaking pitch.

"It's what we've seen many times. He had a nice mix," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think the biggest trouble we had was with that slider, especially down and in to righties."

Jose Berrios (7-2) allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. Chris Gimenez had a solo homer for Minnesota.

"When you go against a guy like Chris Sale, you try to give 110 percent," Berrios said through a translator.

Boston jumped ahead when Moreland homered into the first row of Green Monster seats after the first run scored on a double-play grounder.

Berrios had given up just two runs in each of his previous four starts, and six of eight since being promoted on May 7.

Gimenez's homer completely left Fenway Park over the Monster.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Twins: Molitor said RHP Phil Hughes, on the 10-day disabled list since late May with biceps tenderness, "felt good" but the pitcher had hoped his velocity would be a bit higher. ... LHP Glen Perkins, on the DL with a shoulder strain, is expected to resume throwing again Tuesday after a setback about a week ago.

Red Sox: DH Hanley Ramirez was out with a sore left knee after getting hit by a pitch Sunday. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval, on the 10-day DL since June 20 with a left inner-ear infection, is slated to start a rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday. Manager John Farrell said there's no planned date for his return. ... Moreland fouled a ball that bounced and hit near his right eye.

NICE START, KID

Red Sox 3B Tzu-Wei Lin singled to right in his first major-league at-bat and first career start.

The 23-year-old from Taiwan played third on his country's national teams in 2009 and 2010. He's the second Taiwanese-born player to make Boston's major-league roster. Outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin was the other, in 2012.

RUNNING AROUND

Twins LF Eddie Rosario made three nice running, over-the-shoulder catches.

WELCOME ABOARD

Infielder Jhonny Peralta reported to Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday. Boston signed him to a minor-league deal after he was released by St. Louis earlier this month.

The plan is to alternate him at third and DH with Sandoval.

ROSTER MOVE

The Twins sent RHP Dillon Gee back to Triple-A to make room for Tuesday's starter LHP Hector Santiago.

UP NEXT

Twins: Santiago (4-6, 5.26 ERA) will be activated off the DL Tuesday. He's been sidelined since June 7 with a strained left shoulder.

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (6-4, 4.07) looks to snap a three-start winless stretch.