No Yearning for Youk

802020.jpg

No Yearning for Youk

Life hasn't been easy for Will Middlebrooks in the days since Kevin Youkilis was sent packing.

First, there was the slump: 1-for-15 with two RBI in four games after the trade.

He had a mini-breakout on Friday in Seattle going 2-4 with a home run but then injured himself stealing second on Sunday. He's now day-to-day with a hamstring injury, and while it remains to be seen whether he'll make a trip to the DL, odds are that he won't be in the lineup today, or tomorrow.

In other words, the Red Sox don't have a third baseman, which leads to the natural question:

Did they make a mistake by trading Youk?

After all, this is essentially their worst-case scenario.

1. Trade
2. Slump
3. Injury
4. Nick Punto.

Goo.

But when it comes to Youk, I'm not ready to bite.

He needed to go, and should still be gone.

Can you imagine if we were still stuck in that every day back and forth? The he saidhe said between Youk and Bobby V? The unbelievable tension that surrounded every aspect of that story? It would be torture. Honestly, I don't care if it turns out that Middlebrooks is secretly working for Al-Qaeda. There are no circumstances under which I'd consider that trade a mistake.

Not to mention, just because Youkilis is a "third baseman," doesn't mean you necessarily want him playing third base. I mean, this isn't 2008 MVP candidate Youk we're talking about. Since the start of last season, Youkilis has played in 169 games and is hitting only .250 (151-603). When he was traded to the White Sox on June 24, everyone was like: "Uh oh. Get ready for Youk to blow up now that he's playing every day!"

So far in Chicago, he's batting .231 (6-for-26) with one double, zero homers and four RBI.

I'll take a week of Nick Punto, a healthy Will Middlebrooks and no more drama, please.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com.

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.