Sox notes: Albers struggles; McDonald pitches

191542.jpg

Sox notes: Albers struggles; McDonald pitches

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
BOSTON --Matt Albers recent struggles continued on Friday night, asthe Red Sox relief pitcher allowed four runs on four hits and a walk in theeighth inning.

He entered the game with the Oakland Athletics holding a 9-4lead, but by the time Albers was done, the As were up 13-4.

Obviously he made some mistakes, said Red Sox managerTerry Francona. And when hes making mistakes, theyve been in the middle ofthe plate. And I know hes frustrated. Weve just got to get him back on thatrun again.

I dont think hes tired. His velocity is fine. He wasfrustrated. He wanted to go back out in the ninth inning and pitch again,just because he wants to get it, and he wants to get it now.

But hell be OK, added Francona. Hes going through alittle rut, like a lot of guys do. Weve certainly come to depend on him, andwell get there again.

Outfielder Darnell McDonald came in to pitch the ninthinning on Friday night, in an effort to save the rest of the bullpen for Saturdaysdouble-header. McDonald became the 23rd Red Sox position player to pitch in agame, and he allowed two runs on a hit and two walks.

Franklin Morales was our next option, and hes beenwarming up or in, probably five, or six out of the last seven nights, and wedidnt want to do that, said Francona. So with two games tomorrow, becauseMcDonald was able to go out there, maybe we have a better chance of winning agame tomorrow.

McDonald who hadnt pitched since high school walked thefirst two batters he faced, which included an 84-mph fastball that went up overeverything and into the backstop on his first pitch.

A couple more bullpen sessions with pitching coach CurtYoung, Ill be ready for the playoffs, joked McDonald.

I just came in, and Tito asked me if I can throw an inning,and Im more than happy to do it, he said.

Hopefully there wont be, but if theres another time, Illbe ready to go.

On a positive note, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz hitback-to-back home runs in the fourth inning on Friday night. It was the eighthtime this season that the Red Sox have hit back-to-back home runs. Red Sox outfielder J.D. Drew (shoulder) began a rehabassignment with Short-A Lowell on Friday night. Drew went 0-for-2 with a walk,a hit-by-pitch, and a run scored as the designated hitter.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

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.