Notes: Red Sox announce weekend starters

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Notes: Red Sox announce weekend starters

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. - The Red Sox announced Tuesday some scheduled pitchers for the first three days of exhibition games.

Stolmy Pimentel will start Saturday's afternoon contest with Boston College, followed by Michael Bowden and Jason Rice. Against Northeastern Saturday night, the Sox will go with Kyle Weiland, Alex Wilson and Rich Hill.

In the Grapefruit League opener Sunday night against the Minnesota Twins, Josh Beckett will start, with Clay Buchholz to follow. On Monday, also against Minnesota, Daisuke Matsuzaka will start.

Junichi Tazawa, who underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last spring, threw his first full bullpen session Tuesday morning.

Tazawa had thrown a shorter distance Sunday. On Tuesday, he threw the normal distance, though he concentrated solely on fastballs.

"It's getting gradually better and better,'' said Tazawa through a translator. "I still have a little bit of anxiety about throwing, but it went well.''

It's unlikely that Tazawa will be ready for the start of the minor-league season in early April.

"I don't know the timetable that far ahead,'' he said. "Currently, I've only been given a week at a time, so I only know that.''

Tazawa said he could feel some "tension'' in his right shoulder, but added: "There's no problem at all with the elbow.''

When cleared, Tazawa is slated to be part of the Pawtucket rotation, providing some starting depth for the major league team.

The Red Sox had a morning meeting with umpiring supervisors Larry Young and Joe Garagiola Jr. to go over issues and answer questions from staff and players.

"It was actually a good meeting,'' said Terry Francona. "They told us what they feel they needed to tell us and then guys were allowed to ask questions. They're good listeners. I think they made some good points. I thought it was a good meeting.''

J.D. Drew, who complained last season about inconsistency with the strike zone, said he did not speak up during the meeting.

"I don't want to reflect back on my complaints too much, because it doesn't do me any good,'' said Drew. "I just want to get back to being more patient at the plate, regardless of the situation. There might be a lot of called strike threes against me that I'll still have questions about, but I've got to learn to not expand the strike zone, regardless.''

Adrian Gonzalez took another 30 swings off a tee Tuesday morning. Gonzalez has been given the option of repeating the work Wednesday or taking a day off and resuming swings Thursday . . . Jonathan Papelbon, still battling the flu, remained inside and didn't participate in the workout for the second time in the last three days . . . Jason Bergmann, who was sidelined with shoulder weakness last week is improving but still hasn't been cleared to throw.

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.