McAdam: Gonzalez not worried about slump

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McAdam: Gonzalez not worried about slump

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
BALTIMORE -- Adrian Gonzalez has only himself to blame.

Gonzalez was so good in the first half of the season, leading the big leagues in everything from batting average to RBI to total bases, that he set an impossibly high standard.

And now that Gonzalez has started the second half of the season mired in a 2-for-24 slump, there are theories everywhere, including one which suggests that his current funk at the plate is the result of having taken part -- and finishing second -- in the annual Home Run Derby.

Some players have refused to take part in the exhibition, claiming that participation will effect their swing for weeks to come, as it's done with some in the past. Bobby Abreu is the most notorious example, having hit 18 homers in the first half of 2005, only to follow with just six in the second half of the season.

But Gonzalez said there's no Home Run Derby Curse or even impact. He's just in a plain, old-fashioned slump.

"Baseball doesn't always go your way," said Gonzalez after an 0-for-4 night with a double play and two strikeouts. "Guy makes a diving play in the first at-bat (to start a double play) . . . it's just the (nature of the) game.

"I feel good enough. I just have to execute (better)."

Reminded that some are ready to link his five-game downturn with the Derby, Gonzalez said: "That's not an excuse. I think the days off are worse. I don't think the Home Run Derby had anything to do with it."

If Gonzalez could boil his problems down to a single word, it would be: timing.

"I'm just getting ready late, not recognizing pitches and swinging at pitches I normally wouldn't swing at," he said. "I'm chasing sliders down in the zone that I usually take, no problem. And when I get a (good) pitch, I'm fouling it off. That's all it is. It's not a big deal. It's just a matter of repetition."

Some hitters take extra batting practice to work themselves out of slumps. Others watch video, trying to find a flaw in their swing.

Gonzalez, however, is different. When he's in a dip, here's what he usually does about it: absolutely nothing.

"Just don't think about it,'' said Gonzalez. "(You) go through every at-bat just like when you're doing good. Nothing changes. The worst thing to ever do is panic and that's not something I ever do. I've been through too many of these, two-for-whatever-it--is, to panic.

"It's a long season and in a week or two, we're going to be talking about me having three hits and everything will be fine again. So I just go through (things) like every day is the same."

And, one imagines, without any second thoughts about last week's Home Run Derby.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

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.