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Pedro Ciriaco becomes latest Little Padre Who Could

By Scott Miller | Senior Baseball Columnist

SAN DIEGO -- When newly acquired shortstop Pedro Ciriaco slammed a home run and a triple against the Dodgers on Wednesday night, it didn't simply amplify the Padres' seventh consecutive home win.

It was the latest example of the terrific working relationship between general manager Josh Byrnes and his staff and manager Bud Black and his coaches.

The suddenly contending Padres acquired Ciriaco from the Red Sox in a little-noticed transaction last Friday, June 14.

Two days later, shortstop Everth Cabrera, who has been playing All-Star-caliber ball while leading the Padres back into relevancy, strained his hamstring. Ciriaco has played five games at shortstop and one at second base since.

The Padres mostly acquired Ciriaco for his defensive skills. But in six games, the 27-year-old infielder has hit .412 with a .444 on-base percentage, a homer, three RBI and two steals.

“Crazy,” Ciriaco says of his first week in San Diego. “I feel pretty good. I've been here a week, and I feel like I've been here a year.

“They make it easy for me. They let you play.”

He hit just .216 in 28 games for the Red Sox this season, playing all four infield positions. Over 135 major-league games with the Red Sox and Pirates, Ciriaco had batted .287 with three homers and 30 RBIs. He originally was signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Diamondbacks in 2003.

The Padres pride themselves on defense and depth, and Ciriaco certainly has helped in both of those areas while helping his new team win eight of its past 10 games.

Byrnes zeroed in on him for those reasons as this season rolled along, and Black checked with his long-time friend, Boston manager John Farrell, just before the deal was consummated.

“Mostly about defense,” Black says of that conversation. “John mentioned that Pedro was comfortable at second base, shortstop and third base.”

He also is looking surprisingly comfortable with the bat.

“Pedro goes up there with a bat in his hand,” Black says. “As the saying goes, a moving bat is dangerous.”

Ciriaco subscribes to the old “get a good pitch to hit and try to hit it hard somewhere” school of hitting.

Cabrera will be on the DL with his hamstring injury until at least July 2, so Ciriaco still has several more days to show what he can do. And wouldn't you know it: around the time Cabrera is due back in early July, the Padres will be in … Boston.

“I didn't know much about him at all,” Padres veteran starter Jason Marquis says. “But his glove, bats, legs … nice pickup.”

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