McAdam at the World Series: Renteria steps up again

191542.jpg

McAdam at the World Series: Renteria steps up again

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

SAN FRANCISCO - If you're a Red Sox fan, you remember him booting away seemingly routine grounders, blaming his alarmingly high error total on the Fenway grounds crew and making Tony La Russa look positively prophetic about his unsuitability for Boston.

The Edgar Renteria Era -- or was it the Error -- was, as they say, nasty, brutish and short: One brutal and brutally expensive season.

The Sox had cast aside Orlando Cabrera after a three-month rental and cast their lot -- to say nothing of 40 million over four years -- with Renteria. It proved to be a colossal misstep, but say this for the Sox: They didn't hold their breath and hope it would get better. They cut their losses in a hurry, paying the Atlanta Braves to kindly take their mistake-prone shortstop off their hands.

When the Sox won another World Series two years later, they were still paying off Renteria. He never seemed comfortable in Boston, and Boston, in turn, never felt comfortable with Renteria.

If you could cut out Renteria's one-year nightmare in Boston, however, he's been a pretty good player for a pretty long time. And when he gets to the World Series, as he's done three different times with three different teams, he has a habit of making his presence felt. Scan the highlights of the last 13 years of the Fall Classic and, inevitably, there's Renteria popping up again and again, in big moments, like some sort of October Forrest Gump.

There he is in 1997, singling off Charlie Nagy in the 11th inning of Game Seven, making unlikely champions of the Florida Marlins. There he is, seven years later, in the uniform of the St. Louis Cardinals eerily making the final out against the team he would join a month later, hitting a harmless tapper back to Keith Foulke in Game Four.

And Thursday night, there he was starring for the San Francisco Giants, homering in the bottom of the fifth to snap a scoreless tie and giving the Giants the only run they would need to win Game Two. It helped that when the Giants tacked on seven more runs in the eighth to make it a comfortable 9-0 shutout, Rentiera was part of that, too, delivering a two-run single.

The 2010 season was far from a career highlight. He made three trips to the disabled list for an assortment of injuries, and once, went to the minor leagues to play himself back to good health.

He lost his starting shortstop job to Juan Uribe, only to regain it when the Giants began to worry that third baseman Pablo Sandoval had become a liability. Uribe was then shifted to third and Renteria was re-inserted at short.

His timing is, once again, spectacular. He may not challenge Reggie Jackson for the title of Mr. October, but he does have an uncanny knack of rising to the occasion.

"You know, I couldn't be happier for Edgar,'' said San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy. "It's been a tough year for him. The ups and downs, the injuries . . . He'd come back from one and re-injure something else. But he's a leader in that clubhouse. Everybody looks up to him. He's been through this and he's excited about how he feels right now. He's excited about being back in the World Series.''

Renteria is only 34, but he has already played 15 seasons and with his body slowly breaking down and his contract up, retirement could be beckoning.

"He knows that he's almost at the end of his career,'' said Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens. "He wanted to be into the playoffs because he doesn't know how much longer he's going to play. But there's no better time than now. He's playing great defense and got a couple of big hits.''

According to Meulens, Renteria is a personal favorite of team owner Bill Neukom, who makes it a point to often visit with Renteria and offer encouragement.

"He tells him, 'You're not done with us . . . you're going to help us more,' '' recounted Meulens.

And so it is. The theory around the Giants is that the three DL stints are now a blessing in disguise, enabling Renteria to tap into a reservoir of energy at a time when it's needed most.

"I think the rest probably has benefitted him,'' said Bochy. "He's playing like he did 10 years ago.''

Which, if you're a Giants fan, is much better than playing like he did, say, five years ago.

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

cleveland-indians-andy-marte-killed-12217.jpg

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

kansas-city-royals-yordano-ventura-killed-12217.jpg

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.