Red Sox take UConn's Barnes No. 19 overall

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Red Sox take UConn's Barnes No. 19 overall

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- The Red Sox stayed in their own backyard to make their first pick of the 2011 draft, selecting UConn right-handed pitcher Matt Barnes, a native of Bethel, Conn., with the 19th overall selection.

Barnes, who turns 21 on June 17, is 6-feet, 4-inches, 203 pounds with a fastball in the 91-93 range. He posted a record of 11-4 with a 1.62 ERA in 16 starts spanning 116 23 innings this season for the Huskies, who are playing Monday night in the regionals of the NCAA tournament.

Barnes last pitched Friday against Coastal Carolina, taking the loss, in the Huskies first game of the NCAA tournament at Clemson. He went 4 13 innings, giving up seven runs on nine hits and three walks with six strikeouts.

Barnes has 241 career strikeouts, just two behind UConn all-time leader Ed Baird, who set the record in 1966-68.

"You can see he hasn't quite filled out yet," UConn coach Jim Penders told the Hartford Courant last week. "Matt has got all the tools. Great body. Great arm strength. Most of all, he has got a great mentality. He has a mature approach on the mound. He has developed great command of his fastball. He can go both sides of the plate with it. It's pretty dominant. He can get it up to 98 mph. His breaking pitches have come a long way, too."

With their second pick, No. 26 overall, the Red Sox took switch-hitting high school catcher Blake Swihart out of New Mexico.

Swihart, at 6-feet, 175 pounds, turned 18 on April 3. He was ranked by Baseball American as the 17th best prospect in the draft. He has commited to the Universtiy of Texas, which could raise his price for the Red Sox.

The Red Sox took a tall (6-feet, 6-inches, 190 pounds) left-handed high school pitcher from California with their third pick, 36th overall (first in the compensation round). Henry Owens, who turns 19 on July 21 from Edison High in Southern California, has a 90-92-mph fastball. He also throws a curveball, slider, and changeup.

With their fourth and final pick on the first day of the night, the Red Sox took outfielder Jackie Bradley from the University of South Carolina. Bradley, who is 5-feet-10, 180 pounds, turned 21 on April 19. A wrist injury that required surgery slowed the left-handed hitter at the plate this season. He hit just .259 in 37 games while playing centerfield for the Gamecocks this season.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

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.