Beckett to pitch simulated game on Friday

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Beckett to pitch simulated game on Friday

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Four days after being struck in the head by a ball, Josh Beckett continues to make progress toward returning to the Red Sox' rotation.

Beckett will throw a three-inning simulated game Friday with an eye toward pitching Tuesday against Houston at City of Palms Park.

"He's going to have a pretty much normal day today,'' said Francona. "He feels real good. He's going to be re-evaluated and as long as everything goes OK, he will throw a three-inning simulated up-and-down session in the bullpen Friday and that will keep going toward his next start.

"He'll stay right on his progression, keep his arm strength. He's not facing hitters, but it's kind of the next best thing. It's under a controlled environment, which I think we're comfortable with.''

With Beckett cleared and on his way back to full health, the Red Sox had some fun with the fungo incident which led to his minor concussion.

First, as teammates stretched, Beckett was the last player onto the field at City of Palms Park, and came wearing a white T-shirt over his uniform -- the better,presumably -- for everyone to see him.

Later, the players outfitted staff member Ino Guerrero -- responsible for the mishap thanks to a wayward fungo -- in a neon-colored crossing guard vest and a bright yellow hat.

Bobby Jenks was set to make his Grapefruit League debut. Francona said Jenks and Daniel Bard will sometimes go back-and-forth between the seventh and eighth innings, with no one pitcher assigned to a specific inning.

"We'll go by matchups, availability, usage, who we're facing -- there's a lot of different things,'' said Francona. "How rested the bullpen, how far the starter goes, how far the starter went the day before. But there's no secret - if the game's on the line and he's rested, we want Bard to pitch. That's a weapon. But you can't do that every day.''

The Sox are still waiting on official word on Brent Dlugach, who suffered a dislocated left shoulder Tuesday when he fell, charging a pop bunt.

Dlugach underwent an MRI Wednesday, but the team had to send the test results back to Boston to be properly read.

Felix Doubront, who was shut down almost two weeks ago with soreness in his left elbow, is inching closer to being able to throw again. He's been going through the motions of his delivery in the bullpen.

Doubront is evaluated every day and will be seen by Dr. Tom Gill Friday.

Francona indicated that the Sox are still a week away from their first spring roster cuts. The Red Sox want to get through some split-squad days in the next week -- requiring extra bodies -- before sending anyone out. Also, because minor-league games don't start until the middle of the month, there isn't much point in returning players to the minor-league camp.

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.