The Red Sox are packing to go north and everyone would like to know who’s on the bus. My last plea to Bobby Vaentine is to punch Pedro Ciriaco’s ticket.
Ciriaco has to be the biggest surprise of Spring Training. He hits, he fields, he bunts, he steals bases, and he works hard. What else do you need to know? He has indeed played left field, so he can be a fifth outfielder until Crawford returns to active duty.
Ciriaco is an exciting, make-things-happen kind of ball player the Sox have always lacked. O.K., now they have Ellsbury, but Ellsbury is a lot more than a role-player. He’s an almost-MVP and will not be called on to bunt as much in the prime of his career.
Dave Roberts was that kind of player the year of the curse-shattering Red Sox, and his stolen base in the playoffs is now Red Sox lore. His nerve and speed were all the Sox needed. His bat is hardly remembered.
Ciriaco, on the other hand, has led the Red Sox in hitting. Sunday he stole his way to third base before scoring. He brings just the right amount of havoc for the Sox to pressure their opponents in the late innings.
Bobby Valentine has spent so many words affirming Ciriaco, it sounds like he is destined for a minor league assignment. Valentine heaped the same praise on Lars Anderson before he returned him to Pawtucket. So effusive praise from the skipper is not always a good sign.
Leaving camp with Pedro Ciriaco on the bus would be one surprise for Spring Training, and it would prove that there are always places to be earned on this roster. And it would foreshadow the new unpredictable Red Sox that the Rays and Yankees cannot take for granted.