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Red Sox and Yankees hide their aces

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  March 18, 2012 06:02 PM

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Yankees will be in Fort Myers on Thursday night. Josh Beckett and CC Sabathia are on turn to pitch.

And pitch they will — in minor league games that afternoon in front of about a dozen fans.

Beckett faced the Yankees five times last season (4-0, 1.85) and Sabathia faced the Red Sox five times (1-4, 6.39). For different reasons, they don't need to pitch at JetBlue Park on Thursday. There will be plenty of time for that once the season starts.

So instead we shall see RHP David Phelps against RHP Aaron Cook, two guys unlikely to make the Opening Day roster.

Tough break for NESN, ESPN and YES, who all have the game.

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Several people e-mailed or asked on Twitter if Pedro Ciriaco had a chance to make the team because he is hitting — literally — .545 this spring.

The answer is no. Bobby Valentine likes Ciriaco, but said earlier today he didn't have room on the roster for him.

Ciriaco is not a kid. He's 26 and has been in the minors for seven years. He was a backup player for Pittsurgh's Triple-A team last season and has a career OPS of .649 in 3,213 minor league plate appearances. When you can't start for Pittsburgh's Triple-A team, you shouldn't suddenly make the Red Sox varsity.

He also has 22 at-bats this spring, all but a handful against pitchers who will not be in the majors this season.

It's a fun story and good for Ciriaco. If he's still raking in June, maybe the Sox actually have a player. But there are no miracles in March, only mirages.

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