Youkils doesn't look back in anger

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Youkils doesn't look back in anger

On his way back to Fenway, Kevin Youkilis took the high road.

Meeting with reporters Monday afternoon, hours before he was to play his first game Boston as a member of the Chicago White Sox, Youkils fondly recalled his career with the Red Sox and avoided any direct reference to his frosty relationship with manager Bobby Valentine.

"It's exciting to come back to the ballpark that I've known as home for a long time,'' said Youkilis. "I'm pretty excited to go out there and face some of my former teammates.''
Youkilis labeled his first three weeks in Chicago "great. I think the transition was easy because of the players and the coaching staff. They welcomed me. All the White Sox have been so great to me.''

Recalling his final game as a member of the Red Sox, when he was pulled for a pinch-runner in the seventh and got an emotional send-off from fans and teammates alike, Youkilis called it a "great day,'' and a tribute to Red Sox fans.

Looking back on the deal, Youkilis sensed that the Red Sox had decided to make rookie Will Middlebrooks their regular third baseman. Noting that he was blocked at first by Adrian Gonzalez and at DH by David Ortiz, Youkilis sensed it was time.

"There was either one or two moves to be made to relieve the logjam, and I was that move,'' said Youkilis, "because of contract issues and all different kinds of issues. That's just the bottom line. In the team's opinion, it was time for me to go.''

As best he could, Youkilis steered clear of any controversy.

"I don't understand why this is still a big rift,'' he said. "I'm just here to play baseball. There's no Bobby V. vs Kevin Youkilis or vice versa.

It's about the Chicago White Sox vs the Boston Red Sox and playing baseball.

"I'm just here to comment on this game today and going forward. Whatever happened in the past, there's been a lot of great moments, there's been a lot of down moments, and there's been a lot in-between. So I'm not going to

That's what it's all about. We're here to play baseball. We're not here to do anything else.''

But read between the lines and there were a few comments that alluded to the friction that existed between he and Valentine.

Asked if he no longer felt wanted by the Red Sox before the deal was made, Youkilis said:

"I think the players were great to me, a lot of people were great to me.''

The use of the word "players'' doesn't seem accidental, intimating that while teammates were behind him, the manager wasn't.

He also couldn't help but note "it's definitely fun to know when you're playing. There's not added things going around. I know everyday, I'm playing.

If I'm not playing, Robin will come to me....He's pretty good with communication.''

Youkilis was one of the players taken aback by Valentine's policy of not informing players
the night before they were out of the lineup. It first happened in the third game of the season in Detroit.

He cited "less drama'' in Chicago than in Boston, which he partly attributed to the smaller number of reporters who cover the White Sox.

"It's fun,'' he said. "We have a lot of fun. Not to say we didn't have a lot of fun when I was (in Boston). But it's just a different entity in the Midwest, I guess.''

He vowed to maintain ties to Boston, where some good friends reside and where he still operates a charity.

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.