Derek Lowe's sneaky visit back to Boston

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Derek Lowe's sneaky visit back to Boston

There are many, many days when it blows my mind that Derek Lowe still exists on a Major League roster. But alas, he does. And tonight at Fenway, the now 38-year-old former Red Sox great will be back on the mound in opposition of a current Red Sox goat:

Josh Beckett vs. Derek Lowe: Can you feel it?!

Oh. Really?

Well, what about after the Celtics game?

OK, cool.

Believe it or not (or maybe it makes sense since he's spent the last eight seasons in the National League), this will only be D-Lowe's second time pitching at Fenway since heading west in 2005.

His previous start came on June 20, 2009, when he was playing for the Braves, and in Lowe's defense, he was pretty good: 6.1 innings, three runs.

That's what we call a quality start, folks.

But on this day, Lowe was nothing compared to a bonafide ace named Josh Beckett, who struck out seven Braves on his way to throwing a five-hit, complete game shutout. (Reached for comment afterwards, Beckett said: "Eff you guys, I'm hitting the links!")

But enough about Beckett, let's get back to D-Lowe.

Whether or not he's been the greatest dude off the field over the course of his 16-year career is up for debate. But you have to respect and applaud everything he's done between lines. And, of course, every ounce of what he gave to the city of Boston. Whether it was as a dominant middle reliever, a 40-save closer, a 20-game winner or whatever you call what he did in the 2004 playoffs. (Amazing?)

Tonight, Lowe arrives at Fenway with 170 career wins, which ranks him seventh on the active list (this despite not becoming a full-time starter until he was 29). Last year, he led the league with 17 losses, but before that had a string of nine straight 10 win seasons, and whether or not I choose to believe it, he's back at it again this year with Cleveland.

After six starts, he sits at 4-1 with a 2.39 ERA. In other words, he's easily better than anything we have in Boston. And when Lowe takes the mound this evening, Boston has an interesting dilemma on its hands.

Who do you root for: Derek Lowe or Josh Beckett?

Answer: You probably just watch the Celtics.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

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.