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Ciriaco struggles during first start in center field

Ciriaco struggles during first start in center field

Ciriaco struggles during first start in center field
ST. PETERSBURG -- The experiment of putting Pedro Ciriaco in center field didn't last long Thursday night.

Making just his second career outfield start, Ciriaco was pulled in the middle of the fourth inning during the Red Sox's 7-4 loss to the Rays after allowing two catchable balls reach the ground.

In the bottom of the second, both he and right fielder Daniel Nava were going for a ball in right-center, but it landed between the pair, resulting in a double for Evan Longoria. The following inning, B.J. Upton hit a high-flying ball almost right to Ciriaco, but it landed a few feet in front of him, resulting in another double.

"The first one, I think he saw. It was just the communication without the practice out there," manager Bobby Valentine said. "The second one he didn't pick up."

At that point in the game, both teams were scoreless. In the middle of the fourth inning as Ciriaco was being replaced, television cameras spotted him up talking to first-base coach Alex Ochoa. Valentine approached them and joined the conversation, and the group was then seen laughing, appearing that Valentine had looked past the miscue.

Ciriaco went 0-for-2 at the plate with a strikeout. He is batting .294 with 15 steals in 66 games since being called up in early July.

Jacoby Ellsbury, who had played nine consecutive days and was out of the starting lineup, replaced Ciriaco.

Defensively, Ciriaco's played the infield well, too, committing eight errors and turning 17 double plays in 428 1/3 innings this season.

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