Saltalamacchia returns to lineup with a vengeance


Saltalamacchia returns to lineup with a vengeance

PHILADELPHIA -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia wanted back into the lineup Saturday night in the worst way after suffering a laceration of the left ear that required stitches, so from a Philadelphia hospital, he texted manager Bobby Valentine.

"I'm good for, I'm due to hit a bomb,'' said Valentine, reading his catcher's text message from his phone after the Red Sox held off the Philadelphia Phillies, 7-5.

Saltalamaccchia was true to his word -- and then some.

Not only did he homer as promised, but he also added a single and double, driving in a run and scoring twice.

"Obviously, that was more meant as a joke than anything,'' said Saltalamacchia. "But I wanted to play and sometimes when you tell the manager you're going to hit a homer, he might put you in there.

"I wanted to make sure I got in the lineup.''

Saltalamacchia singled to lead off the second, and came around to score two batters later when Phillies' starter Joe Blanton dropped a throw while covering first.

In the fourth inning, after Will Middlebrooks had led off with a solo homer, Saltalamacchia followed with one of his own.

Finally, in the eighth, he began the eighth with a double to center before being advanced to third on a sacrifice and being cut down at the plate on a nice play by Jimmy Rollins.

"I felt good,'' he said. "I got cleared to play (Friday night), came in today, felt good. The ear didn't really bother me or affect me.''

Saltalamacchia continues to make the most of hits, too. Coming into Saturday night, he led all A.L. catchers in doubles and slugging percentage and was second in extra-base hits.

For the season, 16 of his 28 hits have gone for extra bases.

Report: Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic


Report: 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 ESPN's Cristian Moreno. Ventura was 25 years old.

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 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.


Pedro Martinez to WEEI: Ortiz will make comeback this season

Pedro Martinez to WEEI: Ortiz will make comeback this season

Never say never?

While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.

CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season. 

For the full interview with Martinez, click here.

Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired.