Aviles happy to return to baseball home in Kansas City

744260.jpg

Aviles happy to return to baseball home in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY -- This isn't the first trip back to Kansas City for Mike Aviles since being traded by the Royals to the Red Sox at the trade deadline last July.

But still, returning home to his original baseball home is special for the Red Sox shortstop.

"It feels good," said Aviles. "Last year (returning three weeks after being dealt) was a little weird. This time isn't as weird. But it definitely feels good. It's always good to see the guys and come back to where you started. I know I had a good sleep last night so I can be extra hyper today because I like coming here. I always like playing in this park."

It was only 10 months ago that Aviles was traded, but in some ways, it feels longer.

"Getting traded, you kind of have to turn the page and move forward and get on the program with the new organization," said Aviles. "That's kind of what happened when I got traded. When you have that going on, it makes it feel like it's been a long time. But it really hasn't. I haven't even better here a year, but I feel like I've been here a lot longer."

Aviles was drafted by the Royals in 2003 and played parts of four seasons with them before the Sox obtained him last July 30. Toward the end of his time with the Royals, Aviles had become a role player and was eager for the chance to play every day.

When the Sox traded Jed Lowrie and Marco Scutaro over the winter, that chance arrived.

"Any time you get an opportunity (to play), it's definitely fun," he said. "I'm just enjoying my opportunity and trying to take advantage of it and show everybody that I can play."

Heading into the series, Aviles was hitting .265 with five homers and 19 RBI.

"I feel like I've proven that I can play on an everyday basis in the big leagues," said Aviles. "I feel like I still need to prove it because that's just my personality."

Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

cleveland-indians-andy-marte-killed-12217.jpg

Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte, a one-time top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.

Marte was killed the same day that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Ventura was 25. Coincidentally, Ventura was the Royals starting pitcher in Marte's final major league game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.

Marte, drafted by the Braves in 2000, was ranked the No. 9 prospect in baseball in 2005 when the third baseman was traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta and Marte became the top-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization.  

Marte was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians in 2006 in the deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston and spent five seasons with Cleveland. His best season was 2009 (.232, six home runs, 25 RBI in 47 games). After a six-game stint with Arizona in 2014, he played in South Korea the past two years.  

Metropolitan traffic authorities in the Dominican told the Associated Press that Marte died when a car he was driving his a house along the highway between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.
 

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

kansas-city-royals-yordano-ventura-killed-12217.jpg

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports. Ventura was 25 years old.

Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo told the Associated Press that Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.

Ventura was killed the same day former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Coincidentally, Ventura was the starting pitcher in Marte's final MLB game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014. 

Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners. 

Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014. 

Ventura is the second current major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.