Pedroia speaks up for Tito, teammates

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Pedroia speaks up for Tito, teammates

Dustin Pedroia heard the news -- all the way from Mexico.

Vacationing at the time the Boston Globe's expose on the Red Sox and their collapse hit the newsstands, Pedroia was a little peeved at some of the things reported, and called WEEI's The Big Show to discuss the matter.

So what did he think about all the talk that by September, players were mentally (and in some cases physically) checked out?

"Were all baseball players," Pedroia said. "I showed up to work every day ready to beat the other team. So did everyone else. Were a family. We had the best record in baseball up until September whatever, and then we ran out of gas. That doesnt have anything to do with manager Terry Francona or general manager Theo Epstein or any players or what went on in the clubhouse. The leadership was there. We had guys that cared. We didnt play well in the end. Thats it."

Not only did they play well, but many would argue that Francona didn't manage well. He no longer was a voice the Sox paid attention to in the locker room, and because of it, the inmates ran the asylum.

"To be honest with you, I played for Francona for five years and hes never had to motivate me," Pedroia said. "When you play in an environment like Boston a manager should not have to motivate you. You should be self-motivated. Your team should be motivated to accomplish their goals and, to be honest with you guys, we were. We just, at the end, we didnt play well and thats it.

"Everyone in that clubhouse wanted to win a World Series. Everyone can say, 'Oh, some guys quit, some guys did whatever'. In my opinion, thats a bunch of B.S. We all wanted to win. We just didnt perform well."

Pedroia wasn't about to point fingers at any of his teammates, and instead had the back of one in particular, Jason Varitek, whose captain qualities have recently been put under fire. Pedroia denied the reports that Varitek was a bad leader, saying how he was active in the locker room.

Perhaps the biggest issue with Pedroia though, was the way Francona was treated on his way out of town. The two have always been close, and the parting of ways undoubtedly hits Pedroia hard -- not to mention the way it was handled.

"This guy is my family," Pedroia said of Francona. "For him to have to deal with this, hes the best manager in the history of the Red Sox organization. He won two World Series, look at the run that hes had there, its pretty remarkable. Thats the part that hurts and whoever the person it is thats saying this, I think they need to take a step back and kind of look in the mirror and understand what theyre saying about a guy."

Currently without a general manager or a manager, the Red Sox have a lot of questions heading into the offseason. But that doesn't change the way Pedroia feels about the Sox, or sway him into considering other teams.

"Its going to be a little bit different," he said. "Theo obviously drafted me and Titos the only manager Ive played for so its going to be a little bit different, but an organization thats given me an opportunity to play professional baseball, from my heart I want to play there my whole career. Whatever changes that go on, Im sure . . . they know how I feel. I want to be there my whole career. I want to go through the winning and even I want to go through the September collapses together. Were in this together. Youve got to think that way in Boston."

Amidst all the negativity surrounding the Red Sox locker room, none of it has been about Pedroia. Quite the contrary, actually. Everyone knows that Pedroia's a talker, but that voice may get even louder within the confines of the locker room.

"Well come back motivated," he said, "I promise you guys."

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.