Lackey sharp in his second spring training outing

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Lackey sharp in his second spring training outing

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. - In his second Grapefruit League outing against the Orioles Monday afternoon at City of Palms Park, John Lackey went four scoreless innings, giving up one hit, in the Red Sox' 6-5 victory.

"I was happy with fastball location today," he said. "The rotation of my four-seam fastball was nice. It was nice and true. I still haven't started throwing my cutter yet. Probably ready to do that next start. It was a good step forward.

"I threw some really good changeups. I was really happy about that. Didn't throw that many curveballs. But the changeup was a big plus for me."

Manager Terry Francona was happy with what he saw.

"He was commanding very well," Francona said. "His touch and feel look so good. That was nice to see."

Of the 13 batters he faced, Lackey got groundball outs from seven.

"He's pitching to contact and throwing a lot of strikes, working ahead in the count," Francona said. "Just thought he had a real nice feel. It's still early in the spring for him. As far as velocity, he's probably the last on the staff out of the chute, and that's okay. He's been doing this a long time. But he certainly pitched very well."

Lackey threw 39 pitches, 29 for strikes. Looking to get to 55 total pitches, he went to the bullpen after his outing was complete and threw 16 more.

He has given up just one run in six combined innings this spring. In his last outing, against the Braves on Wednesday, he pitched two innings.

"I felt really good today," he said. "That's a pretty big jump in pitches from the last one. So I'll probably be pretty sore tomorrow."

Lackey has yet to incorporate a cutter into his game repertoire.

"That's okay with us," Francona said. "We don't want to ever say no, don't throw a certain pitch in spring training. But we'd like guys to establish their fastball, arm strength, arm speed before they start working on a cutter. Some guys get out there and you start competing and you want to get outs. Lack's been doing this long enough to know to get ready for the season."

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp: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.