Pedro Ciriaco to Play in Futures Game

Reno Aces shortstop Pedro Ciriaco has been selected to represent the World Team in the 12th annual XM All-Star Futures Game, Major League Baseball announced today. Futures Game participants usually become major league stars, and that is particularly true of Arizona Diamondbacks prospects.

Pedro Ciriaco, a native of San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, is the lone member of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization selected to play in the exclusive Futures Game, which showcases the top prospects in all of Minor League Baseball. Players from all full-season minor leagues are eligible to participate in the futures game, which will be played on July 11 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California as a precursor to the 81st Major League All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 13. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. PT, and the action can be viewed live on ESPN2, ESPN2 HD, and MLB.TV

Ciriaco is in his first season at the Triple-A level, and has emerged as one of Reno's best all-around talents. He entered play on Tuesday batting .242 on the season, ranking second on the club with 36 RBI and tied for first with five triples despite having missed most of April with a thumb injury.  The wiry shortstop is coming off a game Monday in which he collected four hits, four RBI, and two runs scored, falling just a homer short of the cycle.  He is currently batting .303 for the month of June.

Ciriaco participated in the Arizona Fall League last year, was a 2009 Southern League All-Star at Double-A Mobile, and played in the California/Carolina All-Star Game in 2008.  He has been repeatedly cited by various members of the D-backs player development staff as having one of the best infield arms in the organization, as well as being among the fastest baserunners.

More than just an honor, being selected to the Futures Game portends future success.  There are 201 players who competed in one of the first 11 Futures Games currently on major league rosters.  Between 2005 and 2008, the only Diamondbacks prospect to play in a futures name and not eventually wind up in the big leagues was Jamie D'Antona, a late addition to the 2008 roster who elected to play in Japan the following season.  The other seven are major league stars - Miguel Montero ('05), Conor Jackson ('05), Stephen Drew ('06), Carlos Gonzalez ('06 & '07), Justin Upton ('07), Emilio Bonifacio ('08), and Gerardo Parra ('08). Also, Chris Young ('05), Trent Oeltjen ('06), and Brett Anderson ('08) each played in the Diamondbacks system, but were with other organizations when they played in their Futures games.

Last summer, pitchers Jarrod Parker and Leyson Septimo represented the Diamondbacks in the Futures Game.  Parker would likely be a part of the Diamondbacks' rotation right now had he not undergone Tommy John surgery only months after pitching in that Futures Game.  Septimo is averaging more than 12 strikeouts per nine innings with Double-A Mobile and could be the next prospect tested in the hapless Arizona bullpen.

Ciriaco should at least be a September callup, but could be thrust into a more prominent role sooner if shortstop Stephen Drew gets traded before the July 31st deadline.  In either case, Ciriaco figures to be in the team's plans for 2011 and beyond.

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