Ellsbury continues torrid spring

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Ellsbury continues torrid spring

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. Saturday marked the third consecutive day on which Jacoby Ellsbury has played a game. Its the first time this spring hes played three straight days. Hes not scheduled to make the trip to Bradenton to play the Pirates on Sunday, but he may want to lobby manager Terry Francona to let him jump on the bus.

In his last two games hes gone a combined 5-for-6 at the plate, with three runs scored, three RBI, two doubles and his first home run of the spring.

I think he looks tremendous, said Francona. He looks real good. Sometimes that comes and goes in spring because of the sporadic play. But especially the last couple days, hes really looked good.

He hit that home run. That was a pretty swing. That ball jumped out in a hurry. So, I think its pretty safe to say he feels pretty good about himself at the plate.

Ellsbury opened Saturdays game against the Marlins at City of Palms, a 9-2 Sox win, with a double to right, scoring on Dustin Pedroias single.

After missing all but 18 games last season with fractured ribs, Ellsbury is just happy to be feeling healthy.

I felt good, day one, coming in to spring training, he said. So its nice to get out there and play.

He said he has no reservations about his health.

That was the plan when I came to spring training, to not have any, not think about it, he said. And thats where Im at right now.

Hes also growing into the role of being the leader of the outfield, directing his corner outfielders. Its a role hes had to grow into over the last few years, as a young center fielder with veterans J.D. Drew, Manny Ramirez, Jason Bay to his sides.

Ive always been comfortable out there playing center, but yeah, maybe, Ive been there a little bit longer and just communicating with the guys, which I did in the past but maybe just being a little bit more vocal, he said.

Look at the guys I had beside me, some pretty good names in there. So a lot of times you kind of let them, theyve been there, they know what theyre doing. But its nice to just get in and play center and communicating with everybody. We did that in the past but I think its just a little bit more noticeable now.

Its a role Francona has encouraged him to take on more.

We want our center fielder to run the show out there, Francona said. Everybody has to move off of him. If hes moving and nobody else is, were covering stuff we shouldnt. So, yeah, we really encouraged him to take charge out there.

And as he demonstrated Saturday scoring each time he got on base his role at the top of the lineup is just as vital.

We missed him a ton last season, Pedroia said. He brings a ton of speed to our team. He can create a run without getting a hit. He could get on with an error and steal two bases and a sac fly. He could do a ton to help us win. Plays great center field. So hes huge for our team.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

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.