Juan Ciriaco bio
Player: Juan Manuel Ciriaco
Position: Second base
Jersey Number: 2
Hometown: San Pedro de Marcoris, Dominican Republic
Height, Weight: 5-10, 162
Best Baseball Memory: When I hit .300 my first year in the Dominican Summer League.
Greatest Baseball Accomplishment: Signing with the Rockies.
Favorite Player Growing Up: Jose Reyes. He’s a good hitter, a good person.
Most Influential Player/Role Model: My mother, because she inspires me to continue playing baseball.
Favorite Food: Chicken, rice, beans.
Favorite Pregame Meal: Juice and fruit.
Off-field hobbies: Nintendo, talking to my girlfriend and family in the Dominican.
Favorite Movie: “Avatar.”
Juan Ciriaco knew when he was 16 years old he wanted to be a baseball player. That’s about the usual age in the Dominican Republic, when players start to see how they stack up against others they’re playing against.
He signed with the Colorado Rockies in 2009 when he was 19 and spent that season in Boca Chica of the Dominican Summer League.
The middle infielder responded, hitting .303 his first season, and although he dipped to .233 his second season in the DSL, he stole 34 bases and was promoted last year to Casper, Wyo.
He hit .254 his first year of Rookie baseball and had six RBI, playing in 28 games with only 63 at-bats.
He’s still learning English, but he said with manager Tony Diaz interpreting for him that he’s excited about being in Grand Junction.
“Right away the facility is night and day compared to Casper, and that’s what sticks out,” he said. “The first thing (Ciriaco) wants to do is help out the team, and along those lines, do his job so he can continue to move up in his career.”
He’s versatile, able to play second, third or shortstop, and played all three positions last year in Casper.
Although he’s a long way from home, he said he felt comfortable in Grand Junction right away and couldn’t wait until the season began.
His team in his hometown of San Pedro de Marcoris in the Dominican Republic won its regional tournament when he was 16.
“By winning that, that’s when he got exposed and the Rockies followed him and really thinks that moment made a difference in his life,” Diaz said. “That was the turning point when he started trusting and believing, ‘Hey, I can play.’”