Ortiz tells Middlebrooks not to push his return

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Ortiz tells Middlebrooks not to push his return

BOSTON -- Having to watch the Red Sox struggle is one thing. Having to do it knowing that you're just one of a few power hitters absent is even more frustrating.

David Ortiz's return to the Red Sox offense this season is still up in the air. But one thing is for sure: Will Middlebrooks (broken wrist) and Adrian Gonzalez (traded to the Dodgers) aren't coming back to Boston's lineup. The three combined for 53 home runs for the Red Sox this season. And their absence the rest of the way will undoubtedly be noticed.

"That's the game," said Ortiz. "In the game, you're going to have power hitters. You're going to have guys that get on base. Everybody's going to have different roles."

Middlebrooks will be back next season, though. Ortiz -- as a free agent -- is still unsure what's going to happen in the offseason.

But Ortiz and Middlebrooks are together for the time being, and all they can do is watch from the Red Sox dugout. Just as Ortiz is waiting until he's completely healthy to return, he's telling Middlebrooks to do the same for next season.

"I was sitting right next to my boy Will yesterday," said Ortiz. "The guy has impressed me, you know what I'm saying? It's like, don't worry, we're in the same boat. Me, as an older guy, I tried to tell Will, make sure you go back to normal so you don't get worse. So, don't worry, we'll be back. And it's going to be at the right place at the right time, when it comes down to playing.

"I've been injured before. Will is a new kid who pretty much gives everything he has while he was playing. And out of nowhere he gets injured like that and has to sit down for the rest of the season."

Bobby Valentine says the lack of power in the lineup has probably had an affect on his lineup.

"Its hard to value that or weight that but we are lacking the real threat of that home run guy," said Valentine. "Most teams have a couple of them. Were lacking right now. We have guys who will hit home runs before the end of the year."

But certainly the Red Sox offense has struggled without Ortiz and Middlebrooks.

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.