Notes: Wheeler's recent struggles continue

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Notes: Wheeler's recent struggles continue

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
TORONTO -- Until very recently, Dan Wheeler had been one of the Red Sox' most dependable relievers.

Before Saturday, he had held opponents scoreless in 17 of 19 outings.

Then, things soured over the weekend. He gave up three runs to Texas in an inning and two-thirds Saturday, the most runs he'd allowed in an outing since May 2.

In the 11th inning Monday, Wheeler retired Edwin Encarnacion and Kelly Johnson for the first two outs, then left a pitch up to Brett Lawrie, who hammered the pitch to straightaway center for a walkoff homer.

Wheeler hadn't faced Lawrie, a rookie, before, but said that was no excuse.

"I don't think like that," he said. "I think like I just have to go out and make a pitch. That's really what it boils down to. I didn't do that and he hit it pretty good.

"It was supposed to be a fastball down and away, but it didn't quite get there."

Wheeler said it will be his responsibility to put the pitch behind him.

"You have to," he said. "It's the only thing you can do. It's part of it. No one likes to do it. No one likes to go out there and do that, but tomorrow, we've got to come in and try to win a game.

"It wasn't the first time, unfortunately. If you pitch long enough, you put yourself in situations like that. You work hard to not let it happen, but baseball's a funny game."

Even though the Pawtucket Red Sox are headed to the International League playoffs, the Red Sox called up three of their top players -- starting pitcher Kyle Wieland, catcher Ryan Lavarnway and utilityman Nate Spears -- to join the team on Monday.

Weiland and Lavarnway had both been with the Sox earlier this year. Spears has never played in the major leagues.

To make room for Spears on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox designated Drew Sutton for assignment.

Outfielder Conor Jackson, who ran into the bullpen wall Sunday and came out of the game an inning later, was out of Monday's starting lineup with what Terry Francona termed a "banged-up knee."

Josh Reddick, who was hit on the hand with a pitch Friday night and missed the next two games, returned to the lineup in right.

Clay Buchholz, who has been throwing off flat ground, has an off-day Monday and will resume long-tossing Tuesday from a longer distance.

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.