CLEVELAND -- In a perfect world, Pedro Ciriaco would have been playing a variety of defensive positions at Triple-A Pawtucket. But the Red Sox's Minor League affiliate needed Ciriaco to play second base, and the club used him exclusively at that spot.
Ciriaco has proven to be a very capable defensive second baseman, but now that he's at the big league level, he won't see much time at that position. It's already locked down by team leader Dustin Pedroia.
Still, Ciriaco is too valuable a hitter to sit on the bench every day. With that in mind, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine has decided to have Ciriaco work out in the outfield in the hopes of getting him more playing time. Ciriaco also figures to get some time at third base after Will Middlebrooks suffered a broke wrist on Friday. Ciriaco was in the lineup at third, batting ninth, on Saturday.
"He seems too valuable to me not to be more versatile," Valentine said. "There are a lot of everyday players who don't have his skill."
Valentine said he nearly inserted Ciriaco into the lineup in left field for Friday night's game against the Indians, but he didn't get enough assurance from his young player that he would be confident playing out there. Ciriaco has been working out in the outfield for the last several days, and Valentine said he may have Ciriaco play a variety of positions during winter ball.
"He's the type of player where he's not just one dimensional," Pedroia said. "He can play anywhere. He's got a lot of parts to him that are very valuable to our team."
For now, Ciriaco is happy in his role. He's gotten a few starts as the team's designated hitter during David Ortiz's time on the disabled list, and he's a useful pinch-hitting option off the bench.
Despite the sporadic playing time, Ciriaco has been very productive with the bat, something Valentine said is unusual for young players. In 28 games this season, Ciriaco was hitting .341 (29-for-85) with a home run and 11 RBIs.
"Seems like he's unfazed," Valentine said. "I think that it's very difficult, and I think that it is unusual. He's a pretty good player."