First Pitch: The latest Sox newsrumorsspeculation

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First Pitch: The latest Sox newsrumorsspeculation

By Art Martone
CSNNE.com

Welcome toFirst Pitch, aquick spin around the world of Major League Baseball . . . or at leastthe corner of it that most concerns the Red Sox.(And on Saturday, that corner apparently extended all the way to a Starbucks in Chicago.)

NO NEWS IS . . . well, who knows?

The sighting of Theo Epstein, or a Theo Epstein lookalike, at that coffee house near Wrigley Field is closest thing we've come to moving this story forward over the last three days. Epstein is apparently returning no calls. There's nothing non-coffee-related coming out of Chicago. And Red Sox ownership? Their basic philosophy appears to be, "Who are these Cubs to whom you refer?" (csnne.com)

So in the absence of news, we have speculation and opinion:

Lou Merloni says let Theo go. (csnne.com)

The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo thinks Larry Lucchino will once again become A Very Important Person in the Baseball Ops corner of Red Sox Nation if Epstein leaves.

Not enough to sustain you? Well, there's a little more to chew on in the managerial-search portion of our program:

The Sox haven't approached the Brewers about talking to Dale Sveum, but Sveum says he would be interested (csnne.com) in a tepid sort of "I'd be interested in managing anywhere" way . . . which makes sense, considering the Sox fired him (as third-base coach) in 2005. The Brewers say he'd be a fine choice, indeed.

The Boston Herald's John Tomase handicaps the managing field.

(Hey, we said there was a little more to chew on.)

And so we wait. And wait. And wait.

YOU'RE LUCKY WE DIDN'T CATCH YOU: While Lucchino admits that someone in the organization had to have approved it, he also claims Sox ownership was unaware of the participation of Messers Beckett, Lackey, Buchholz, Lester and Wakefield -- and the use of both Fenway Park and officially licensed Red Sox uniforms and logos -- in the now-infamous "Hell, Yeah, I Like Beer" video, and would have denied permission had they known. (csnne.com)

DON'T GET YOUR HOPES UP: Dreaming about Brian Cashman as Sox GM? Sorry, looks like he's headed back to New York. (ESPN)

GET REAL, RANDY: Speaking of the Yankees, Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News scoffs at Yankee president Randy Levine's dubbing their season "a bitter disappointment". He says the Yankees are built for regular-season success and postseason failure, and thus what happened to them is "quite normal".

YOU CAN BOOK THIS ONE, JOHN: John Feinstein was fascinated by the final day of the regular season (csnne.com) and was thinking of writing a book about it, but was told by his literary agent that, no matter how good the story is, Red Sox fans won't buy a single copy. (feinsteinonthebrink.com) And if Red Sox fans won't buy a baseball book, then that baseball book doesn't have much chance of financial success.

AND FINALLY . . . He's managed in two tough places, but Terry Francona says he'll take Boston over Philadelphia. (eye-on-baseball.blogs.cbsports.com)

Art Martone can be reached at amartone@comcastsportsnet.com.

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.