Another lineup shuffle: Sox move Crawford to leadoff

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Another lineup shuffle: Sox move Crawford to leadoff

By JoeHaggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON The lineup carousels continues to spin for the Red Sox, and the latest version -- to be rolled out Friday in the Sox' opener against the Yankees -- has Carl Crawford in the leadoff spot.

There was some thoughtCrawford didnt really enjoy hitting out of the top spot in the lineupdespite his obvious athleticism and blazing speed, but manager TerryFrancona attributed that to a message put out early in Crawfordscareer when Lou Piniella was managing the baseball team formerly knownas the Devil Rays.

The move was designed to sparkCrawford after a 4-for-23 start with one run and one RBI in the firstsix games, and to ease some of the pressure off Jacoby Ellsbury bymoving him down to the No. 8 slot.

Ive been sayingall along that when Ellsbury is swinging good, we want him to hitleadoff, said Francona. Hes not been swinging terribly good, but alot of guys havent.

Its not so much a demotion asI wanted to get Adrian Gonzalez up into the three hole so he hits inthe first inning," continued the manager. "That was the best way to do it. I talked to Carl onthe plane last night. Obviously were trying to settle into somethings. I kind of explained it to him and said, How do you feel aboutthis? He said, Ill do anything you want. I thought he meant it. Idont want him to be somebody thats going up there to take somepitches. I want him to be himself and create somehavoc.

Crawford has not hit in four different spots -- 1, 2, 3 and 7 -- in the Red Sox' first seven games.

Francona saidthe 0-6 start had taken some of the coolness out of the OpeningDay pageantry, but that it was a fine balance between buildingintensity and creating a tightly wound group of baseballplayers.

For anybody that likes baseball, OpeningDays are so cool, but Id be lying if I said that we werent too happyabout where were at. It takes away from some of the pageantry. Youvegot to remind yourself that its a long year, and its ourresponsibility make it a good one. Not to be hanging our heads, poutingand feeling sorry for ourselves.

When stuff likethe overhead jets happens during the pregame ceremonies, Im usually by then thinking Lets go.Lets pitch. Get those planes the hell out ofhere.'

JoeHaggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

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.