Valentine on Buchholz: 'We need him'

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Valentine on Buchholz: 'We need him'

BOSTON -- A couple weeks ago, Clay Buchholz said that he felt like the only pitcher in major League Baseball who was complaining about getting wins.

Kind of, sort of true.

Surprisingly, Buchholz and his 9.09 ERA has the most wins on the Red Sox, with three, entering his seventh start of the season on Friday night, against the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park.

In his previous six starts, Buchholz has yet to allow less than five runs. Needless to say, his 3-1 record is mostly a product of tremendous run support.

But make no mistake about it, Buchholz is a key component to Boston's success in 2012. If not for the sake of what he brings to the rotation every fifth start, then for the sake of saving the bullpen from any more six-inning appearances.

"I think our starters have to get it together," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine before Friday's game. "They're capable. They have quality. And maybe a couple hard-hit balls will get caught tonight, and we'll get on a role."

Buchholz obviously hopes he can limit the number of balls that are hit hard, and avoid that one big inning that opposing teams seem to have on him every time he steps on the mound.

"Well I think he has to take the responsibility, that, we're in a situation where we need him, and perform the way he's capable of performing," said Valentine on Friday.

"I never give up on a player until he gives up on himself, and I haven't seen that happen with Clay," added the Red Sox manager. "He's still working hard. He and Bob McClure are trying to solve this puzzle. I'm confident that the trust that I have in my coaches is going to pay off, because they're going to solve the puzzle. But is it difficult? Yes."

As for the rest of the rotation, Valentine says the solution is simple.

"Pitch better," he said. "I'm not going to start the bullpen and then have the starters end the game, or any of that stuff. The guys that we had designated as our starters, have to just go out and pitch better. I don't know any other way to express that."

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.