Surprised, excited Iglesias makes big-league debut

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Surprised, excited Iglesias makes big-league debut

By Maureen Mullen and Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- It was quite a day for Jose Iglesias, the phenom shortstop from Cuba whom the Red Sox signed as an international free agent less than two years ago.

With Marco Scutaro (oblique strain) placed on the disabled list, the Sox recalled Iglesias from Pawtucket. And he made his major-league debut on his first day, playing the ninth inning as a defensive replacement for Jed Lowrie in Boston's 9-5 win over the Twins.

I though the timing was good, said manager Terry Francona. Let him get out there, let him get some nerves out of the way and let him be part of what were doing. It worked out well.

Scutaro tried to ease those nerves by playing a prank on Iglesias just before he was put into the game. He hid the youngsters glove behind the camera man.

Iglesias could do nothing but laugh afterwards, and said he enjoyed the moment.

For me, its a huge thrill and an honor to be playing here, said Iglesias. Especially at such a young age.

Iglesias arrival in the big leagues is ahead of schedule. Yamaico Navarro, who appeared in 20 games for the Red Sox last season, would have gotten the call but was placed on the DL last week with an oblique strain.

We talked to Iglesias a little bit this morning, Francona said before the game. I think we all think hes got a really bright future here. I dont think right now is his time to be starting at shortstop . . . Let him learn the atmosphere, whats expected of him. Hopefully itll be real good for his development.

While his primary position is shortstop, Francona said Iglesias could play other positions as well.

I think so. I hope so, he said. I know he played third in the Arizona Fall League. His hands are good enough to be anywhere and his instincts. Infield coach Tim Bogar will get him out there and move him around a little bit. The one thing you dont want to do is put him in a situation where hes uncomfortable. I think hed probably be okay anywhere.

Iglesias was surprised when he got the call Saturday night from Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler that he was going to Boston.

It wasnt something that I was expecting, he said. I just got a call after the game from Arnie . . . and they gave me the news. So it came as a shock.

Although his English is very good, Iglesias spoke through Eddie Romero, the teams assistant director of Latin American operations, with the media.

Very glad, very appreciative of being given the opportunity to help out this team here in Boston, he said.

Its obviously a very special day for me but even more so being Mothers Day. I get to share it with a lot of Moms out there. But its a tremendous thrill for me to be here and well see what happens.

Iglesias tried to call his mother in Cuba before the game to tell her the news, but was unable to get through. He expected to see his wife, his infant son and his father, all of whom are in Pawtucket, after the game.

A defensive whiz, he was hitting .253 (22-for-87) with four RBI, 17 strikeouts, and two walks, for Pawtucket when he was called up.

Mike Cameron greeted Iglesias, saying Hey, caballito little horse. Iglesias is familiar with his teammates from being in the organization for almost two seasons and being in spring training for two years.

Its like a family here, he said. Ive been around and I know most of these guys pretty well through spring training. So theres no level of discomfort here. I feel very comfortable with all the guys in the clubhouse.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

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

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.