Crawford, Ellsbury getting close to returns

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Crawford, Ellsbury getting close to returns

BOSTON -- Both Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury took batting practice on Tuesday at Fenway Park, prior to the Red Sox game against the Miami Marlins.

The pair of outfielders are major missing pieces to the puzzle that currently is the AL East's last-place team.

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine aid that both are "close" to game activities. But it seems as if Crawford -- who also took part in outfield work at Fenway on Tuesday -- is a little bit closer.

"He's close. I would think by next week, for sure, if not sooner," said Valentine about Crawford.

Crawford himself spoke after his pre game workout, and reiterated the same notion.

"Everything's feeling like it's coming along fine," said Crawford. "I feel better as each and every day goes by. I feel like it's getting better. Right now, it's just a day-to-day thing. At this point, things are looking good.

"At some point I'm going to get out of here and go down to Fort Myers, I'm guessing, and start playing games. Get on the fast track and try to get back up here so I can get back in the lineup."

Valentine has been encouraged with Ellsbury's workouts. But they're still trying to determine when he'll be ready.

"I saw him yesterday, and he hit real well," said Valentine. "He swung the bat about 20 times yesterday, and did both live work and tee work today. He feels good. That's very encouraging.

"He's close to game activities. I don't mean tomorrow, but he's close. He's made great, steady progress."

Both Crawford and Ellsbury getting "close" at the same time may just be the very thing that the Red Sox offense needs to go on a serious run.

"We know that it's still a long season," said Crawford. "There's still a lot of games to be played. So we've got a lot of key parts coming back. And when we get everybody together, we definitely feel like we can put together a run and make a run at this thing.

"I'm pretty sure we inspire one another," Crawford later added. "We do the best we can. Watching him work out definitely gets me going. And I'm pretty sure it does the same for him."

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

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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

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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.