Experience a strength for Red Sox pitching staff

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Experience a strength for Red Sox pitching staff

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox' rotation may not be the best in the division, but it is among the more experienced. Three of the projected starters -- Jon Lester, John Lackey and Ryan Dempster -- have, several times over the course of their careers, logged more than 200 innings per season.

Experience alone doesn't guarantee success. But their past work can be a key building block for the staff.

"They have first-hand experience of knowing (what it's like to make) 32-plus starts in a given season," said Farrell, "how to gauge spring training as they go through the early phase of it; and what we're looking for as we get closer to the start of the season; the importance of those four days in between (starts) to log innings; the work and preparation leading into camp and into the start of the season -- they've all been very successful at that."

"The nice thing is, having gone through the ups and downs, we kind of know what we're capable of doing," said Dempster. "If you have a bad game, or you had a bad year, you know you have the ability to bounce back and whatever it takes to go out there. We're going to continue to push each other hard this spring and throughout the rest of the season to get the best out of each other."

Dempster said veteran pitchers can create some intra-staff competition.

"One guy that really sticks out (among former teammates) is Ted Lilly," said Dempster. "You go out there and go seven and come in the locker room afterward and he'd say, 'I guess I've got to go eight tomorrow.' That's something that's really important. That friendly competitiveness and pushing each other. There's more in the tank than some times we realize and some times it may take somebody on your team to push you that little bit extra."

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.