Ellsbury hasn't got time for the pain

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Ellsbury hasn't got time for the pain

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It's early yet, but a common theme has definitely emerged in the first week of spring training: Don't look back.

John Lackey sounded it first. Then, Josh Beckett. And Wednesday morning, within an hour of checking into Red Sox training camp, Jacoby Ellsbury did, too.

It was only natural, of course, that the outfielder's lost -- and at times, controversial -- 2010 would be asked about. Ellsbury missed all but 17 games with a number of broken ribs, and teammates grumbled privately about his extended absence. And in one notable case, Kevin Youkilis publicly questioned Ellsbury's dedication to rehab the injury in Arizona rather than with the team.

Ellsbury was far from nostalgic about last season. In fact, perhaps predicitably, he did everything he could to avoid talk of the injury and the surrounding white noise it set off.

Asked about his health and when he got cleared to resume full offseason baseball activity, Ellsbury was vague with his responses, saying he "wasn't even sure of the exact date, but it's been a while now."

"It feels good to put 2010 behind me," he said, "and look forward to 2011."

Asked how frustrating the season was, Ellsbury had a ready response: "I've already put that behind me. I can't really change last year. But I'm definitely excited for 2011."

When asked when he was finally fully pain-free -- in his ribs and in his back -- Ellsbury was, again, somewhat evasive.

"I'm not sure exactly," he said. "All I know is that I feel good now . . . It's hard to say. But I've been healthy for a while now."

Ellsbury was asked about some of the criticism he received -- in the media and from others.

"I've put that in the past," he said. "Like I said, I'm moving forward and I'm excited about 2011."

Was the criticism unfair?

"Moving on . . . moving on," said Ellsbury with a smile. "You know, 2011."

And finally, he was asked if he felt some a connection with Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who was roundly criticized for not being tough enough after coming out of a playoff game with a knee injury.

"No real comments on that, either," he said. "I'm going to sound like a broken recorder."

He professed to be unconcerned about where he would hit in the batting order -- "That's up to Tito. I just want to help the team, wherever I fall in that order."

Ellsbury revealed that during the offseason he worked on "a lot of core stability and letting the ribs heal."

Recounting his 2010 season and what he learned from the experience, Ellsbury said: "I definitely grew. But I'm definitely not looking at the past. I can't change anything that happened. I'm definitely excited for 2011. Every spring training is a fresh start for everybody."

After playing just 17 games since October of 2009, Ellsbury will have to adjust to the rhythms of the game again. But he's confident that won't take long.

"The way I play," he said, "and being an athlete, you can transition back into it fairly quick. I'll definitely be 100 percent by Opening Day."

A big test will come the first time Ellsbury, in-game, finds himself sliding head-first into a base or laying out for a ball in the outfield.

"I'll be able play with my natural aggressiveness," he vowed, "the way I've always played. I'm not worried at all. It's not like I'm coming off major surgery. If anything, they should be stronger than they were. Any time you break something and let it heal, it should be stronger."

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.