Ciofrone eyes versatility as his ticket

Peter Ciofrone has always sought a position to call home but there are few who have ever questioned his ability to hit for average. At Triple-A, what is next for the New York native?

You shuffled around a bit last year, but how has that helped you this season?

Peter Ciofrone: Last year's experience was great. My first year in Double-A. I had a pretty decent year. We had a good team and I was sent up to Triple-A, which was a great experience. I got to appreciate the older guys who had been in the big leagues before, learning something from them. Then, I got a chance to go back down for the playoffs, which was fantastic.

Have you felt there were times where you have been pressing this season and getting out of your element?

Peter Ciofrone: Not at all. I started off doing well. Things kind of caught up with me but I have felt good. I think I have hit better in Portland than I did last year in San Antonio. I have been hitting hard ground balls and line drive outs. It has been frustrating when the hits don't come but I feel good.

It is a great experience being with the guys and learning from the older guys.

Are you going through changes during the season?

Peter Ciofrone: I am just trying to see pitches. That is the main thing.

We have talked in the past about your success with runners in scoring position. Is there a different mentality for you in those situations?

Peter Ciofrone: I think for me – I am a little more relaxed. I love those situations. I really look for my pitch to drive and that pitch specifically. Hopefully, things turn out for the best. Second and third with one out – you are trying to hit the ball hard to get the run in. The approach doesn't change too much. It definitely relaxes me.

Something we have also touched on in the past is hitting home runs. You have always maintained that it is not as important if you are driving in runs. Does that still hold true?

Peter Ciofrone: Everyone wants a home run. Like I have always said – and I hit 10 last year – you are always looking for more home runs. But – I am not going to change my swing to hit home runs. I am not a big guy. I am trying to go up there and hit the gaps. I am going to run into a few here and there. I am more of an average guy with RBIs.

Talk a little bit about your versatility and ability to play multiple positions – something we have seen a lot of this year.

Peter Ciofrone: I think it definitely helps. If it is between me and another guy and I can play the infield – it is only a plus for me. I grew up always playing infield and they moved me to the outfield. Versatility is good for any player. I have always still taken my ground balls on the infield and will never stop taking those. I am never going to stop moving around and fielding multiple positions.

Do you finally feel comfortable playing the outfield?

Peter Ciofrone: I feel great. I feel better and better each and every year from when I started in Lake Elsinore to last year – much different. And I feel like I am getting better and better now – better reads, coming in on the ball, throwing guys out. It is like anything else, the more you do it, the better you will be.

What will be a successful finish to the 2008 season?

Peter Ciofrone: A successful finish to the year will be staying healthy, one of the main things. If you are not on the field you can't do anything. I want to help this team any way I can. Hopefully, everything falls into place. My goal is to always hit over .300 and in Triple-A you really have to start making your move. We will see how things turn out.

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