It's difficult to think of a better story than Daniel Nava.
A season after he made his major league debut -- and famously, hit a grand slam on the first pitch thrown to him -- Nava was off the Red Sox radar in Pawtucket, relegated to non-prospect status.
Earlier this year, when the Red Sox needed a roster spot, Nava found himself designated for assignment -- and unclaimed by the other 29 teams.
But the epidemic of injuries to the organization's outfielders has created an opportunity for Nava, and he's seized it in a big way, becoming the Red Sox' de facto starting left fielder.
In 14 games since being promoted from Pawtucket, Nava is hitting .350.491600 with two homers and 11 RBI.
Nava's done everything the Red Sox could have asked. He's getting on base regularly, driving the ball -- six of his 14 hits have been for extra bases -- and showing improvement in the outfield.
In the last few weeks, he's gone from forgotten journeyman minor leaguer to valuable role player.
The eventual return of Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury may force Nava back to the minors, but that's at least a month away. In the meantime, Nava is showcasing his skills to other teams, and not incidentally, proving invaluable for a team desperately in need of reinforcements.
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.
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.