V-Mart: 'No hard feelings' towards Red Sox


V-Mart: 'No hard feelings' towards Red Sox

By Joe Haggerty

LAKELAND, Fla. The big Red Sox story at Joker Marchant Stadium in Tuesday's game against the Detroit Tigers is obviously Daisuke Matsuzaka, but there's also the first reunion between Victor Martinez with his old baseball team.V-Mart is in the Detroit lineup, batting fifth and serving as the designated hitter a role hes expected to occupy much more with the Tigers this season and said he was looking forward to playing against his old squad. Sox regulars Jacoby Ellsbury, J.D. Drew, Jason Varitek, Jed Lowrie and Darnell McDonald made the trip to Lakeland along with newcomer Carl Crawford, and Martinez has happy to spot familiar faces while serving out liners during batting practice.It was always nice to getting together with some old friends. I was really looking forward to it, said Martinez. Boston was a great experience for me and for my family. It was a great experience. My family and my son really miss the Red Sox. They treated my family first class, and as a player thats one of the things that youre really looking for.It makes you want to go out there, play your best and give your all. It was great for me, and it was one of the best experiences of my career. I cant say anything but great things about the Red Sox organization. There are no hard feelings at all.Martinezs son, Victor Jose, was a fixture around Fenway Park over the last two seasons and it was pretty clear listening to the backstopdesignated hitterfirst baseman that Boston and the Sox organization had a profound impact on both father and son.Sox manager Terry Francona was often spotted playing with the rambunctious duo of Victor Jose Martinez and DAngelo Ortiz in the Sox clubhouse over the last couple of summers, and he misses the energy and levity brought by both youngsters.Were trying to make a move today. Theo is trying to acquire Victor Jose. Theyre asking for Crawford, and were holding out for a little less, said the smirking Sox skipper.Martinez recounts a conversation with his 6-year-old son when they both realized the Sox were coming soon, and Big Papi wouldnt be making the trip: A week ago, he said to me, The Red Sox are coming. Im gonna see DAngelo. And I said Papi, I dont know if youre going to see him. I dont think David Ortiz is going to make the trip. And he was like Aw man!It was tough for him. Hes a kid, but you try to make him understand. Its a hard part of the game. Detroit is a great organization with a lot of good guys, and hes getting used to it over here.Martinez maintains he holds no ill will toward the Sox after they went in a different direction for their offense and catching and never really gave the former backstop the kind of contract offer denoting a serious desire to keep him in Boston. Questions about Martinezs overall defensive abilities and his skill throwing out base stealers certainly clouded his long term future in Boston as a full-time catcher. The Sox werent willing to shell out the bucks for a versatile switch-hitter capable of swinging between catcher, first base and designated hitter while providing respectable middle-of-the-order offense when they still had a few first basedesignated hitter types under contract.Martinez' first move, from Cleveland to Boston (when theRed Sox acquired him at the trade deadline in 2009), was gut-wrenching-- to that point, he'd spent his entire career with the Indians -- butit was easier this time around. For one thing, he'd been through itbefore. For another, Martinez got what he was looking for from theTigers: Four years, 52 million.He said hes interested to see if lightening the catching duty can help preserve his career and bulk up his offensive numbers further.They told me right out of the gate that I was going to catch two or three days a week and the rest of the time Id be DH-ing, said Martinez. Im good with it. Its going to be fun. Ill do my best and see what happens.Martinez ended his Sox career with a .313 batting average and .865 OPS with 28 home runs and 120 RBI in 183 big league games.
All of the good stuff we heard in Cleveland we found out was true, said Francona. Hes a gentleman, first of all. He instantly became a good teammate and kind of a leader. Thats a hard thing to do when you come in the middle of a season.He found a way because of his personality and leadership to find a way to have guys following him. Guys took to him after the first day and its a compliment to him. Guys come and go. Thats the business part of it, but it doesnt mean that youre not crazy about him.Trading for Adrian Gonzalez and signing Crawford certainly softened the blow on the business end of it for the Sox, and perhaps DAngelo and Victor Jose can rekindle their friendship 20 years from now when theyre both big league superstars. For now, though, V-Mart and the Sox are both getting on with their lives.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic


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


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.