Valentine considers Iglesias for shortstop

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Valentine considers Iglesias for shortstop

FORT MYERS, Fla. The Red Sox enter spring training with questions at several roster spots, including shortstop. Nick Punto, Mike Aviles, and Jose Iglesias are all candidates for the position.

On Wednesday morning, manager Bobby Valentine spent some time hitting groundballs to a group of infielders that included Iglesias.

Iglesias, the much heralded Cuban defector who turned 22 in January, is considered a defensive whiz, with limited offense, drawing comparisons to Rey Ordonez, whom Valentine managed for parts of seven seasons with the Mets. Ordonez won three Gold Gloves, but hit just .246 in his nine-season career with the Mets, (Devil) Rays, and Cubs.

"My first impression of Iglesias, Valentine said. is that he can catch it. I bet you he can throw it after he catches it, too."

I did see similarities with Rey Ordonez in ball-glove action. Initially, it looked like he had more range than Rey."

Iglesias made his big league debut last season, going 2-for-6 in 10 games. He was limited in 2010, his first season in the United States, to 57 games for Double-A Portland by a thumb injury, but was promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket last year, where he hit just .235 with one home run and 31 RBI in 101 games. In two minor league seasons, he has hit a combined .261 with one home run and 51 RBI in 171 games.

Asked if his team could afford little to no production at any position, especially shortstop, Valentine replied:

"Probably not. My fast brain says probably not."

Valentine acknowledged he could perhaps learn from his time with Ordonez.

"I didnt do a very good job of developing Rey into an offensive player, Valentine said. Maybe I can learn from what I didnt do. That was a challenge to get offensive production out of Rey Ordonez. Rey wasnt a very receptive person. Rey didnt adapt or receive well. It seems that Jose would be a little different than that."

Valentine said he kept Ordonez in the lineup because he didnt have a lot of alternatives. Would he do the same with Iglesias?

Its a different world, he said. A different situation."

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.