The Recurring Achilles MORE: Its not about curses, Papi

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The Recurring Achilles MORE: Its not about curses, Papi

It's not every day that we have reason to be positive about the Red Sox. But today, with the the encouraging returns of Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford, the potential reemergence of Adrian Gonzalez and the 3-1 record since the All-Star Break, there are a definitely a few sources of optimism.

But I'm still going to be a little negative. Not because I want to, but because it's pretty hard to look at tonight's lineup and ignore the glaring elephant in the box score.

Let's see if you can find it:

1. Ellsbury
2. Crawford
3. Daniel Nava!!!
4. Gonzalez
5. Will Middlebrooks
6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia
7. Ryan Sweeney
8. Mike Aviles
9. Pedro Ciriaco

OK, anything jump out?

That's right. Daniel Nava is hitting third. And while we can all agree that Nava's a fantastic and inspirational story, we know that he has no business hitting third for any team in the league, never mind one that has serious dreams of making the playoffs.

In other words, the Red Sox need David Ortiz.

Reports indicate that Ortiz didn't tear or rupture his Achilles last night and won't make a trip to the DL. Good news. However, he is in a walking boot and told reporters today that he should miss about a week. Hmm . . . could be worse. But there are a few concerns.

Mostly this: When Ortiz comes back, will he be the same Ortiz, or is this the kind of injury that might nag at him the rest of the season and chip away at the most dominant and consistent presence in the Sox lineup?

It's probably too early to tell, but we do have recent history to help out with a little hint.

Last night, during Bobby Valentine's postgame press conference, he mentioned that this injury was something that Ortiz has dealt with in the past. So this afternoon, I googled "David Ortiz Achilles" and found that just last summer, Ortiz suffered an injury that (on the surface at least) looks and sounds very similar to what happened last night.

Here's the story from August 18, 2011:

BOSTON -- Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, out with bursitis in his right heel, said Wednesday he likely will miss a week of action.Manager Terry Francona indicated Tuesday night that although Ortiz won't be placed on the disabled list, the DH will miss some time and is required to wear a walking boot."I should just chill, you know, rest," Ortiz said Wednesday before the Red Sox took on the Rays at Fenway Park. "I got this walking boot you guys saw me wearing; just got to wear it for a few days.

Bursitis refers to an inflamed bursal sac, which is filled with fluid and acts to lubricate and reduce the friction between muscles and tendons. When there is bursitis in the foot, it usually occurs in the bursa sac located between the Achilles tendon and heel bone. The sac protects the tendon from the pressure of the heel bone rubbing against it."
Sounds about right.

So what happened last year? Well, before he went down Ortiz was hitting exactly .300 with 24 home runs, 79 RB and a .945 OPS. He then missed 10 days with the injury.

He returned on August 24, and showed no signs of struggling. In fact, he was a beast; hitting .518 with four homers and nine RBI over the last seven games of the month.

Of course, like the rest of the team, his game went down the tubes in September, where he hit only .287 with one home run and eight RBI over 26 games. Was that a matter of an ailing Achilles or the pressure of life in a clubhouse that was constantly on the verge of combustion? We can't be sure. I'm guessing it was a combination of both. But there's no question that, regardless of the reason, the Sox will need more than that down the stretch this time around.

If not, they might as well just stick with Nava.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com.

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.