Valentine unsure if Sox will skip Lester's next start

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Valentine unsure if Sox will skip Lester's next start

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jon Lester's next start is scheduled for Saturday at Yankee Stadium and Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine suggested that Lester would make that start.

Unless, of course, he doesn't.

The Sox have an off-day Thursday and could conceivably skip Lester to give him time to work through his troubles on the side. Lester was blasted for 11 runs in four-plus innings of work Sunday.

In his last three starts, Lester has pitched just 12 13 innings and allowed 21 runs.

When a reporter started to ask whether the Sox might think about skipping Lester, Valentine cut the reporter off and responded: "I don't think so. Maybe. I don't think so."

But later, when another reporter rephrased the question about skipping Lester, Valentine seemed to leave open the possibility of doing so.

"Maybe," said Valentine. "If that's something that we deem that he needs."

Lester plans to throw a side session Wednesday here at The Ballpark at Arlington.

"(We'll have) a conversation," said Valentine. "It's not anything that has to get deep. We have to talk, figure it out. We're not solving the world corn crisis."

When it was pointed out that Lester has sounded downcast in recent comments, Valentine said he had a remedy for that.

"We'll just let him know that if you're that far down, there's only one way to go and that's up," Valentine said. "I believe in him. No one else in this room (full of reporters) does, but I do. So, that's a good start. Maybe if he's sitting in here, there will be two (people who believe in him) before he leaves."

Valentine added of Lester: "He's not hurt, that's for sure. He said he feels fine. The plan is to talk with him after batting practice. I had a little piece of pizza with him. We'll see if can make a plan, straighten him out and get him going on the right track."

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.