Pedro Ciriaco, Brock Holt Fighting For Red Sox Bench Spot?

Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

It might not be a given that Pedro Ciriaco makes the Red Sox out of spring training

The Red Sox have two former Pirates vying for an infield spot on the Boston bench, but the competition might be a bit closer than the off-season suggested. John Farrell, by way of Peter Abraham, suggests that Holt is in competition for a job, saying the infielder "will get a very good look in camp."

Now, with that being said, Farrell could very much mean that Ciriaco, who was on the Red Sox in 2012, could be the guy to make the team out of spring training. This is even more likely when you consider that he is all out of options, while Holt, who was brought back in the Joel Hanrahan trade, is in possession of all three of his. What the long look would be for, then, is an eventual spot on the roster. Say, if it turns out Pedro Ciriaco's versatile glove just isn't worth all the outs handed to the opposition's pitchers each time the utility man steps to the plate.

Holt might not be the defender Ciriaco is, but he's a couple years younger, and with a much more robust minor-league portfolio at the plate. Holt has made barely a pit stop at either Triple-A or the majors, with a combined 178 plate appearances between the two levels, but he's a career .317/.381/.427 minor-league hitter who might actually be able to identify what a walk is if you described it to him.

To give you a sense of the difference in plate discipline, Holt has earned 148 free passes in 1,692 professional plate appearances, while Ciriaco is at 125 after 3,814. Walks against minor-league pitchers certainly aren't everything, but, with some patience and plate discipline, it's safe to assume Holt could get on base when the hits aren't falling. Ciriaco, however, is barely productive even when the hits do fall. After his initial week-long outburst that made him a temporary fan favorite for knocking Yankees' pitching around, Ciriaco hit just .273/.294/.368 in his other 69 games and 242 plate appearances for Boston, a line that is sorely in need of a few free passes.

As said, though, chances are good it's Ciriaco's job from the season's start, with Holt taking reps down in Pawtucket, finishing up his Triple-A development. Should there be an injury to an infielder, however, Holt will likely be in the majors, and depending on how Ciriaco does in his role, might not have to be sent back down afterward.

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