Sox players back their embattled manager

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Sox players back their embattled manager

BOSTON The Red Sox players were understandably upbeat when learning about the vote of confidence emails and words submitted by Sox principal owner John Henry and GM Ben Cherington on behalf of embattled manager Bobby Valentine.

The Sox are a decidedly mediocre 55-55 on the season after pasting the Texas Rangers by a 9-2 score at Fenway Park on Monday night, but Sox management and ownership backed Valentine before the first pitch was thrown.

The Sox skipper was a bit sheepish it had come to that point, but such is life when youre managing an underachieving ballclub with a 175 million payroll.

I regret that they had to do it. If our record was better then they wouldnt have to do it, said Valentine. Its totally appreciated, though, if they felt it was necessary and think it was good for the guys.

Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez has caught fire since the All-Star break, but he was among many underachievers during the first half of the year.

So Gonzalez understands as well as anyone that the teams plight is on the players no matter what happens to their manager.

He deserves it. Its one of those things where he hasnt swung the bat all year. He hasnt pitched, said Gonzalez. Its us that are playing out there. The .500 record that we have right now is on us. Its not on Bobby. Everybody wants to make a big deal about that, but its not on Bobby. Its on us.

Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia took it one step further, and said that the players should collectively worry about the results on the field rather than anything else. Theyre nine games behind the Yankees in the AL East and four games behind the As and the Tigers in the wild card chase.

The Sox need to worry more about wins and less about the soap opera playing out along Yawkey Way with Valentine in the title role of Dudley Do-Wrong.

We need to focus on winning, you know? said Saltalamacchia. Thats the stuff that really isnt needed around here. We dont need that. We just need to go out there and play ball.

If we go out there and win then theres something to talk about. What were going to talk about is winning, and thats what were going to continue to talk about. Thats our focus.

More results will go a long way toward quelling the fire the manager talk, but the Sox have been unable to stabilize things over the first five months of the season, so its difficult to envision whats different about this same group of players now under the same embattled manager.

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.