Notes: Varitek forced to catch Wakefield

191542.jpg

Notes: Varitek forced to catch Wakefield

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

NEW YORK -- It had been six long seasons since Jason Varitek last caught a game by knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. Wednesday night, after Wakefield got the win in a 11-6 Red Sox victory over the New York Yankees, Varitek pronounced himself mostly satisfied.

"I hadn't caught him (for an extended period) in a long time,'' said Varitek. "You need reps with Wake and I had no opportunity to prepare. No side work. It was a grind.''

Varitek caught Wakefield for multiple innings in the spring out of the bullpen, and also handled him for several side sessions.

But even then, Varitek said, he estimated it had been "a few weeks'' since he had caught Wakefield at all. The Sox have mostly paired Wakefield with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was unavailable Wednesday night with a stomach virus.

"The tough part today,'' said Varitek, "was he'd throw one and it would spin. Then he would throw another and it woudld be a double-breaker, left and right.''

Varitek said he learned a lot watching former teammate Doug Mirabelli catch Wakefield for several seasons. Catching instructor Gary Tuck also incorporated some things to help Varitek.

"I was pretty happy,'' concluded Varitek of the night.

The Red Sox got some good news on another catcher, Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Saltalamacchia was violently ill Tuesday night and again Wednesday, and for a while late Wednesday afternoon, the Sox were concerned that Saltalamacchia might be suffering from appendicitis and would require a surgical procedure.

But after tests conducted at a New York hospital, it was determined that Saltalamacchia was suffering from what Terry Francona termed "intestinal turmoil.''

Saltalamacchia was in the clubhouse for a while Wednesday night before returning to the team hotel. He wasn't scheduled to catch the series finale with Josh Beckett and probably won't be available until Friday -- at the earliest -- when the Sox begin a weekend series in Toronto.

The Sox were able to summon Luis Exposito on short notice from Pawtucket. He arrived at Yankee Stadium about an hour before game time.

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.