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."
Papi feels 'great' after resting on Friday
CLEVELAND -- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said injured designated hitter David Ortiz felt "great" after taking a day off to rest on Friday. Ortiz took batting practice on the field and was expected to run the bases prior to Saturday night's game against the Indians. He was originally expected to run on Friday before opting for the off-day.
Ortiz hasn't played since July 16 against the White Sox as he continues to recover from a right Achilles injury.
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"It only bothers him when he runs straight ahead," Valentine said.
Valentine said after Friday's game that a Sunday return for his DH was unlikely, but he didn't rule out the possibility on Saturday.
"I don't know," he said. "We're trying to make sure that he has no setback."
Ortiz is hitting .316 with 23 home runs and 58 RBIs in 89 games this season.
Right fielder Cody Ross entered Saturday's game on a season-high eight-game hitting streak. Ross, who hit the decisive two-run homer in Friday's night's 3-2 win against the Indians, was hitting .406 (13-for-32) with four doubles, two home runs and seven RBIs during that stretch.
Daisuke Matsuzaka, on the 15-day disabled list with a right trapezius strain, made his third rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday night. The right-hander allowed two runs on five hits over 4 2/3 innings, with three strikeouts and two walks. Matsuzaka threw 89 pitches. He hasn't pitched for the Red Sox since July 2.
Clay Buchholz's complete-game performance against the Indians on Friday was his second of the season and the fifth of his career.
Justin Albers is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.