CLEVELAND In a season where there hasnt been a ton to feel good about, Pedro Ciriaco has been a great story.
The middle infielder rapped out two more hits in Wednesday nights 5-3 loss to the Indians at Progressive Field, and is hitting .341.349.482 in 28 games with the Sox in what can only be termed a surprise performance.
But Ciriaco was also in the middle of a crucial play that went against the Sox in their loss to the Tribe after hed started off the top of the seventh inning by rapping a double down the right field line. Carl Crawford followed a Jacoby Ellsbury strikeout with a ground ball to shortstop that Asdrubal Cabrera was able to field cleanly with the play developing right in front of Ciriaco.
It was a hard-hit ball and a split-second decision for the speedy Ciriaco, who chose to be aggressive trying to make something happen in a one-run game and was caught in a rundown between second and third. Instead of making something good happen, Ciriaco and Crawford were both gunned down in a 6-5-6-4 double play that ended the potential game-tying rally.
Pedro was a little over-aggressive. The ball was hit really hard and his first move was to score, and it went right to the shortstop, said Bobby Valentine. I thought the worst we would have in that situation was Pedroia hitting with two outs, and he would get him in. But a lot of things didnt work out the way we thought they would tonight and well go get them tomorrow.
Ciriaco appeared to be taking it to heart following the loss, and willingly accepted blame for the base-running miscue. Its one of the few times this season thats been involved in a negative play for Boston.
I thought the ball was going to pass him, so I went and he made a nice play, said Ciriaco. I should have waited to see if it went through. I made a mistake.
The loss was another example of the Sox finding a new way to lose a close game against an able-bodied opponent, and unfortunately Ciriaco was one of the guys explaining how it all went wrong afterward.
Blake Swihart wasn't going to win a job. Monday merely made that official.
Swihart was optioned out as the Red Sox made further cuts, sending a player who could still be the Red Sox catcher of the future -- well, one of them anyway -- to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he's expected to work on his receiving.
Swihart hit .325 in 40 Grapefruit League at-bats.
"Had a very strong camp and showed improvements defensively. Swung the bat very well," manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida. "For the player that he is and the person that he is, you love him as a person. He's a hell of a talented player.
"He made some subtle adjustments with his setup [defensively]. That gave him a different look to pitchers on the mound. Pitchers talked positively about the look that they got from him behind the plate. I think it softened his hands somewhat to receive the ball better. And there were a number of occasions where he was able to get a pitchers' pitch called for a strike, so the presentation of the umpire was a little bit more subtle and consistent then maybe years' past."
Sandy Leon's hot hitting in 2016 earned him an automatic crack at the lead catching spot for this year. Combined with the fact that Christian Vazquez looks great defensively, went deep on Sunday and is out of options, Swihart was the obvious odd man out.
He had options, the others didn't.
Deven Marrero was also optioned to Pawtucket. Sam Travis -- who, like Swihart, could break camp with the 2018 team -- was reassigned to minor-league camp, as was catcher Dan Butler.
The Sox have 38 players left in camp, 32 from the 40-man roster.
Tyler Thornburg might be joining David Price on the disabled list to start the season.
Thornburg, the biggest acquisition Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski made for the bullpen this winter, was scratched Monday because of a spasm in his upper right trapezius — not a great sign for a pitcher who already had throwing shoulder issues this spring.
Thornburg, acquired in the trade that sent Travis Shaw to the Milwaukee Brewers, had barely enough time to get ready for Opening Day prior to Monday’s setback. If he indeed starts the season on the DL, Joe Kelly would be the eighth-inning reliever for the Sox — a role Kelly was headed for anyway given Thornburg’s shaky spring.