Notes: Sox again cross paths with Wily Mo

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Notes: Sox again cross paths with Wily Mo

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
SEATTLE Wily Mo Pena will always be the hulking reminder of a Theo Epstein trade that never quite panned out.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound right-handed slugger was always something of a tease, given that his athletic combination of physical strength and speed were unrivaled in the big leagues when he first came up with the Cincinnati Reds system.

Epstein was intrigued by the prospects of Pena turning into a home-run hitting monster at Fenway Park, and dealt crooning right-hander Bronson Arroyo to the Reds in exchange for the pile of baseball potential.

Unfortunately, Pena never fully developed offensively -- he had, and has, exploitable weaknesses at the plate -- and his outfield defense wasis a disaster, making him a natural for the designated-hitter role. The problem in Boston, of course, is that David Ortiz is the DH.

So, after nearly two full seasons and just about 500 at-bats, Epstein admitted his mistake and sent Pena to the Washington Nationals in August 2007. Wily Mo has kicked around the big leagues ever sunce, getting playing time with the Nationals and Diamondbacks, and he popped up with Seattle on Saturday night after Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a fractured nose suffered on a bad-hop ground ball Friday.

While Pena will be remembered more for untapped potential than anything else during his time in Boston, manager Terry Francona clearly remembers Pena's prodigious power.

Its silly . . . Wily Mos power is off the charts, said Francona. Oh, boy . . . some of the home runs he hit. He hit a ball in Baltimore . . . it won the game for us . . . It was a day when the wind was blowing and I couldn't imagine someone hitting a home run that day.

As always, Pena, now 29, put on a display during batting practice, and he exchanged hugs with Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and other members of the Sox that were around during his time in Boston.

But during the game he also looked like his normal self, showing an inability to consistently hit the breaking stuff while going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts in Seattles 5-4 win at Safeco Field.

Josh Beckett has recorded at least one strikeout in each of his 272 career games, the longest active streak in the majors.

Red Sox 1986 postseason hero Dave Henderson made the rounds in the Safeco Field press box during Saturday nights game with his trademark smile and sense of humor. Henderson does television and radio for the Mariners, the team that traded him to Boston in the summer of '86.

Francona was ejected by home-plate umpire Mark Ripperger in the top of the fourth inning after the umpiring crew overturned a Jacoby Ellsbury play at the plate they originally called safe. A run was put on the board when Ripperger ruled that catcher Josh Bard didnt hang on to Ichiro Suzukis throw from right field as Ellsbury attempted to score, but, after a conference among the crew, they called Ellsbury out and took the run away.

Replays showed that Bard -- who caught a knee to the face in the collision with Ellsbury -- didn't drop the ball, but was transfering it from the glove to his bare hand to show he had possession. Ellsbury said after the game he thought he was out.

Francona, who said he knew hed be ejected the minute he stormed onto the field, never got an explanation as to why the call was changed.

I wasnt even really listening, said Francona, who seemed to know that replays showed Ellsbury was out. I think the umpire thought he was looking in the glove and the ball was in his hand. I just couldnt understand why the home-plate ump couldnt explain it to me. It was his call. Theyre so protective of the young guys. If the ump has an ability to make the call, then explain the call to me.

It was Franconas 33rd career ejection and his fourth this season.

It looked like Bard held onto the ball during the tag and he pulled out his bare hand to show it, said Ellsbury. From my angle it looked like the ump got the call right, you know?

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

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.