Pedro Ciriaco Continues to Play, Continues to Hit as Second Baseman Moves Up to No. 2 Hole in Lineup

Pedro Ciriaco Continues to Play, Continues to Hit as Second Baseman Moves Up to No. 2 Hole in LineupWhen Dustin Pedroia went down more than a week ago with a new injury to his pesky right thumb, it looked like the Red Sox were in serious trouble. Just as they were about to get Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford back from lengthy disabled list stays, their former MVP found out he would be sidelined for at least a couple of weeks.

Well, never fear, for Pedro Ciriaco is here. The 26-year-old non-prospect has been nothing short of a revelation in his four games played since joining the Red Sox from Pawtucket, going 10-for-16 with two doubles and three stolen bases. And that's not even mentioning the fact that Ciriaco flashed some great leather as an out-of-place shortstop in Saturday's 9-5 win over the New York Yankees.

The truth is, Ciriaco probably can't keep this up long-term, as a .656 career minor league OPS over 3,285 at-bats would suggest. However, the Red Sox will ride the hot hand while they can, and hopefully for Boston, Ciriaco can continue to help the club bide its time until Pedroia can return.

And today Ciriaco and the Red Sox will take on one of the best pitchers in the business, David Price (11-4, 2.82), who's coming off of seven innings of one-run ball in his last Independence Day start against the Yankees. He'll be opposed by Clay Buchholz (8-2, 5.53), who returns to the mound after spending some time in the hospital with a gastrointenstinal illness. Before he went down, however, he carried a 2.43 ERA through his previous five starts.

Check out the starting lineups for both teams below:

Red Sox (44-43)

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Pedro Ciriaco, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Cody Ross, RF
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Mike Aviles, SS
Kelly Shoppach, C
Brent Lillibridge, 1B
Daniel Nava, LF

Clay Buchholz, RHP

Tampa Bay Ray (45-42)

Elliot Johnson, SS
Carlos Pena, 1B
Ben Zobrist, RF
B.J. Upton, CF
Adam Scott, DH
Jeff Keppinger, 3B
Desmond Jennings, LF
Jose Molina, C
Sean Rodriguez, 2B

David Price, LHP

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