The two costly errors Pedro Ciriaco committed in the eighth inning of the Red Sox’s 6-1 loss to the Twins, when he replaced starting third baseman Will Middlebrooks who was dealing with pain in his right side after colliding with catcher David Ross in the process of making a sliding catch in foul territory, weren’t because of lack of preparation.
The work Ciriaco puts in before games is constant. It’s also all over the place. On Tuesday, he took reps on the left side of the infield at short and third. He’s never played first base a day in his major league career, but Sunday in Texas he was there taking ground balls just in case. His job as a utility infielder demands that he be ready to play almost everywhere on the field.
“Every position is different,” Ciriaco said. “I just have to adjust to every position I play. You don’t know when, what position you’re going to play. But I just try to work. One day at third and second, the next day work at third and first, and a little bit in the outfield, too.”
With seven games under his belt this year, he’s already been charged with half as many errors as the eight he committed in 35 games last season. He’s thrown a ball over the Sox dugout. He’s fired one too low for his first baseman to pick out of the dirt. And after Tuesday night, he booted two balls the fueled a four-running inning for the Twins.
On the first, playing regular depth, chased a Brian Dozier bouncer toward the third base line, but couldn’t cleanly snag it on a high bounce. On the second, he was playing in on the grass, took his eyes off a Jamey Carroll bouncer, and watched it get over his glove and skip into the outfield.
“I just missed the ball, that’s it,” he said. “I come everyday with the mentality to play and practice and be ready and I just missed the ball. I work every day and I feel like I’m a good player, I just missed the ball. I’ve just got to be more ready and next time make those plays.”
Sox manager John Farrell was confident that the errors wouldn’t continue to be an issue for Ciriaco.
“That was uncharacteristic of Pedro tonight,” Farrell said. “He’s shown to be a very capable defender. Two miscues are unlike him.”
Before last night, Ciriaco had played 39 games at third in his four major league seasons. The bulk of them came last year, his first season in Boston. He’d played there twice before with the Pittsburgh Pirates two years ago. He’s played twice there this year. Where he plays on a given day is always up in the air, but Ciriaco said he would continue working to make sure he makes the grabs the next time they come his way.
“I think I’m comfortable this year, because last year was the first time I played third,” he said. “I played earlier this year and last year and I just have to continue working. I just have to make the plays.”