Bard happy to be back with Boston

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Bard happy to be back with Boston

OAKLAND -- Six Red Sox relievers came out of the bullpen and all but one -- Junichi Tazawa -- gave up at least one run in the debacle that was the 20-2 humiliation to the Oakland A's Friday night.

But there was some small solace for another. Daniel Bard, who allowed a run on two hits in the sixth inning, made his return to the big leagues after a nearly three-month demotion to the minor leagues.

"The adrenaline was there,'' said Bard. "It's not the eighth inning with a one-run lead, but it's a lot bigger stage than the one I've pitched on the last couple of months. It was fun. I felt comfortable out there.

"I wasn't quite as sharp as I would have liked to be, but I haven't pitched in four days, so, it was good to get back out there.''

Bard retired Josh Donaldson, the first major league hitter he'd faced since June 3, on an infield pop-up before allowing a solo homer to former teammate George Kottaras.

After a single to Cliff Pennington, he retired Coco Crisp, another former teammate, on a swinging bunt and got Stephen Drew to line out to first for the third out.

"Anytime you go three or four days (without throwing) as a reliever, you want to get back in there, '' said Bard, ''no matter where you're playing. So I was glad I was able to get my feet wet again today.''

Bard said he had some butterflies "but not as much as I expected. I think it's something about going through the same routine, with the same people, warming up throwing to (the same bullpen catcher) and having (bullpen coach Gary) Tuck standing next to me, it's a familiar place for me. So I think that kind of helped me relax a little. I wasn't as sharp as I would have liked to be, but it was really good to be out there.''

Evaluating his stuff, Bard said he was far from perfect. His velocity was down, too, as his fastball topped out at 92 mph.

"But it's almost September,'' he said. "I feel like I worked really hard just to get back here. Everything's not perfect. It's not where I want it. But I've definitely made some big steps in the right direction. I'll just try to continue that for the next month.

"I know I've got to prove some things to some people and I'm ready to do 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.