Red Sox

Ciriaco's leadership at young age allows for brothers' success

700618.jpg

Ciriaco's leadership at young age allows for brothers' success

The pressure was on Pedro Ciriaco long before he reached Fenway Park.

Not from his coaches, teammates, or management. He put the pressure on himself for his own success and that of his brothers.

Years later, two of them are pursuing their goals of making it in the Major League fueled by ones drive to pave the way.

Growing up in the Dominican Republic, Ciriaco and his two younger siblings shared a bedroom in their familys small home in San Pedro de Macoris. They also shared a dream.

Pedro, Audy, and Moises Ciriaco were raised playing baseball. Their father played locally and encouraged his sons to get involved in the popular sport. At the insistence of their mother, a teacher, the boys put school first. The game was a close second.

Pedro, the oldest by nearly two years, recognized the potential in family. Hoping all three would reach the Major Leagues, he took it upon himself to set a strong example for his siblings to look up to. Pedro believed if he made positive choices, his brothers would do the same.

I tried to do the right thing so they can see it and they can follow me, Pedro said from his locker in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse on Saturday.

Pedro was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks as an amateur free agent in 2003. Two years later, Audy joined the Detroit Tigers organization. In 2007, Moises became the third member of the family in the minors as a member of the Baltimore Orioles system. In a matter of four years, the Ciriaco brothers had left the Dominican Republic to begin their careers in the United States.

The eldest sibling spent seven seasons in the Minor Leagues before making his big league debut on September 8, 2010. By then, Pedro was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played two seasons for the team before signing with the Red Sox as a free agent in January.

The shortstop spent the first half of the season with the Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA) before being called up to Fenway Park last week for the series against the New York Yankees. In his first three games with the Red Sox, he recorded seven hits, four runs, four RBIs, and two stolen bases with a batting average of .538.

Although Moises five-year run with the Orioles organization ended after the 2011 season, Audy continued his pursuit like Pedro this year as a third baseman on the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens.

Prior to his call up, Pedro faced off against Audy for eight minor league games in May. The PawSox went 1-3 in the first series and 3-1 in the second. Box scores aside, Pedro relished in the chance to play against his brother in what he hopes was a precursor to match ups in the Majors.

It was fun. Any time I get a chance to play against my brother, its an opportunity not a lot of guys get to do, he said. I hope I can play against my brother in the big leagues and I hope my dad and my mom can watch us play. Its going to be like a dream.

Pedros parents still live in the Dominican Republic. They traveled to Pittsburgh to catch one of Pedros games last season, though he would like them to be in attendance more often.

He returns home every offseason and got his own apartment for the first time last winter. Pedro made sure his new place is close enough to his parents' house that he can visit his family frequently.

Its hard all the time, he said. When I grew up, I lived with my family. Its hard to be away from them. But Ive got to stay strong. Its a job I picked. I have to do it.

Not only did Pedro choose to become a professional baseball player, he also carried the responsibility of making a path for his two younger brothers to follow as well. There are times when he feels the pressures that he has placed upon himself. Thats when he appreciates Audy is in a similar situation and can relate. The two talk several times a week through text messages and telephone calls.

More importantly, Pedro recognizes the self-assigned role will not be easy. Understanding there will be obstacles along the way helps him to stay focused and ready for his next challenge.

Being the oldest one, you try do the right things so they can follow me, he said. But sometimes its hard. You try to do everything perfect. It can be tough. Were human. Sometimes we make mistakes but weve got to learn from them and use them to step forward.

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

mlb_rob_manfred_081414.jpg

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

cy_young_corey_kluber_chris_sale_111517.jpg

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE