Ortiz to play first in interleague play

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Ortiz to play first in interleague play

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Red Sox begin interleague play Friday, which means Bobby Valentine will have to get creative with his lineup in order to get playing time and at-bats for DH David Ortiz.
With no DH allowed in games played in National League parks, Valentine hinted that Ortiz will play first base -- with Adrian Gonzalez shifting from first to right field -- at least once in the three-game weekend series with the Philadelphia Phillies.
"We've talked and we've thought through it,'' said Valentine. "You'll see him in the field. We'll see (about how often he plays).''
That will require an adjustment for both players. Ortiz hasn't played first base since Grapefruit League games in spring training, while Gonzalez hasn't been in the outfield since last June.
"I think they're both capable (of making the adjustment),'' said Valentine. "Adrian is playing (first) every day and asking him to run around in the outfield during this stretch, it might be much. I think David can catch it at first.
"But then you have (other) plays, you know, throwing with the runner in the (base) line... things that could happen. I don't think David's really familiar with pop-ups, either.''
Like his predecessor, Terry Francona, it seems as if Valentine will limit Gonzalez's exposure in the outfield to a single game, not wanting to risk any more.
"Maybe one,'' said Ortiz when asked how much he'll play first this weekend.
Asked if playing there during spring training will help the transition, he said flatly: "No,'' before adding with a chuckle, "I'm fine. No fear.''
The biggest adjustment, Ortiz said, was managing expectations
"It's not something I do often,'' he said. "So I try not to put pressure on myself. I'll try to have good communication with (Dustin Pedroia). I just don't want to be in the wrong place when it comes to catching a fly ball or catching a ground ball. I try to mark my territory, where I can be, and after that, let the guys who are out there every day take over. Keep it simple.
"I've played first base before. It's not like I've forgot. I know how bad you can mess things up over there, too. So, like I said, I'll try to keep it simple. I'll try to read the ball off the bat the best I can and make sure I'm not in Pedroia's way.''
Ortiz also saluted Gonzalez for willingly going to the outfield in order to create playing time for Ortiz.
"It's unbelievable, man,'' said Ortiz. "You're talking about a Gold Glove first baseman leaving his position for someone else to play. You don't see that too often. But Gonzo's a team player. He did it last year and he'll do it this year again.''

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.