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Cirillo, Sanchez showing fine defense

Jeff Tully

Keeping tabs on local athletes playing in major league baseball:


After struggling earlier in the season, the former Providence and


Seattle Mariners’ star has brought his average up, but is still well

below his career average.

In 67 games, the starting third baseman is 49 for 213 for a .230

average. Along with 21 walks and 21 runs batted in, he also has


scored 21 runs and nine doubles.

The two-time all-star has a .301 lifetime batting average.

Although Cirillo has had his troubles on offense, he is enjoying

another fine defensive season. In 549 2/3 innings at third base,

Cirillo has had 138 total chances and 43 putouts and has just three


In 2002, Cirillo committed just nine errors in 377 total chances,

which was the best in baseball.


Cirillo is a nine-year veteran who was traded to Seattle from

Colorado for right-handed pitchers Jose Paniagua and Denny Stark and

left-handed pitcher Brian Fuentes on Dec. 15, 2001.

Before going on to star as a pitcher at USC, Cirillo was a

standout at Providence.

He was a two-time CIF Southern Section Small Schools’ Player of

the Year in 1986 and 1987.

In 1986, under Coach Marc Saraceno, Cirillo helped the Pioneers


win a Small Schools’ championship with a 13-2 win against Temecula



In has been a magical season for the former Burbank High talent,

who was called up to the Boston Red Sox on May 30th.

On offense, Sanchez has put up decent numbers in 16 games. Along

with going six for 22 with a .222 average, he also has scored four

runs, has two doubles and two runs batted in.

Like Cirillo, Sanchez has been able to shine on defense, as he has

played third base, shortstop and second base. In 56 2/3 inning and 30

total chances, Sanchez has 13 putouts, 17 assists and no errors.

On June 14, he came close to setting a major league record for

chances at third base. In a game against the Houston Astros, Sanchez

had 10 assists, one away from tying the all-time mark of 11.

Sanchez is a natural shortstop who didn’t play third before this


In a game Saturday against the Florida Marlins, Sanchez

electrified the crowd when he delivered a run-scoring sacrifice bunt

he beat out for a hit.

Sanchez was the 1996 Foothill League Player of the Year for the