Gonzalez (back) out Saturday, doubtful for Sunday

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Gonzalez (back) out Saturday, doubtful for Sunday

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- For the second straight game, Adrian Gonzalez was out of the Red Sox' lineup Saturday night, the result of a back that "locked up'' on him when he bent over to talk to a small child Friday afternoon.

"He has a little situation in his lower back that came on quickly,'' said Bobby Valentine, "and hopefully it will leave quickly. They think it's muscular; right now, it's being treated as a muscular situation.''

Valentine added that he doubted Gonzalez would play the series finale Sunday afternoon.

"I would think by the beginning of next week, he should be in full swing,'' Valentine said. "It's a day game (Sunday). I bet it's real questionable, real doubtful.''

Gonzalez had started every game but one before coming out of the final game of the first half with an illness. The back is unrelated to coming out of the game against the Yankees.

"I'm feeling better today,'' said Gonzalez. "My back locked up on me (Friday). I told Bobby I could play, but he didn't want me to push it and be another guy on the DL, so they're being cautious with me. So are the trainers.

"There's still tightness there. If I need to, I can go out there, but I don't want to push it and aggravate it.''

Gonzalez said he was in a mall in Tampa next to the team hotel when he "ran into a family with kids. I bent over to say 'Hi,' to one of the kids and when I came out of that, it locked up on me. I tried to get treatment, to go out there and move around, but it wasn't feeling any
better.''

"He's going to try to take it real slow today and do nothing,'' said Valentine. "Yesterday, he took batting practice and later in the day, it caused him a little problem. So we're hoping that doing nothing will get him back quicker.''

Valentine said he was unaware if an MRI or x-rays had been taken of Gonzalez's back.

Gonzalez said he wouldn't take regular batting practice, but might try a few swings off a tee "right before the game in case they need me to pinch hit.''

This is the first time in Gonzalez's career that he has experienced back tightness, but he said he wasn't worried that it could become more problematic.

"I'm not (concerned) at all,'' he said. "I talked to a bunch of the guys and every single guy that this has happened to said this is one, two three days. It spasms and then they go away, your muscles relax and you're back to normal.''

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.