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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Baseball

Pedro Martinez thinks David Ortiz will return to Red Sox

David Ortiz is retired, at least for now, but a former Boston Red Sox teammate doesn’t think that will last.

Pedro Martinez told WEEI’s “Trenni & Tomase” that he won’t believe Ortiz is retired until he sees the slugger sit out an entire season.

“David says he’s retired,” Martinez said, via John Tomase of WEEI. “But I still believe David is going to give it another try. I don’t know why I have that feeling that David might want to do that. I just don’t see David, having the type of season that he had, and having the success that he was still having, sitting at home wasting it. David is too smart. I still believe David is going to feel the little itch of coming back to spring training.

“Because imagine, I’m one of his closest friends. And I’m going to have to come to spring training, so he’s going to be left in the Dominican alone. I know that he needs some time off. If he stays at home with his wife, his kids, it’s going to get boring sooner or later, and I believe he’s going to come over. I think the toughest thing is going to be when he finds himself with so much time, and not having a regimen to follow. That’s going to be really difficult for David, a man that’s used to swinging the bat 500 times a day, mingling with his friends and teammates and all that. It’s just going to be difficult.”

Ortiz has been very clear about being retired, but Martinez just isn’t buying it.

“No. No, I’m not,” Martinez said. “And I won’t. Until the year goes by, I won’t.”

Ortiz hasn’t done a lot to quiet that talk after being very firm about retirement during the season, citing his foot problems and demanding regimen as reasons to walk away. As long as he’s still of a reasonable playing age, the rumors won’t be going away.

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash

Kansas City Royals ace pitcher Yordano Ventura died early Sunday in a fatal car accident in the Dominican Republic.

Details are scant, but ESPN’s Cristian Moreno cited Dominican police who confirmed the tragedy.

Ventura was just 25 years old, and had parts of four MLB seasons under his belt, all with the Royals. He went 38-31 with a 3.89 ERA.

Agent: Tim Lincecum has no plans to retire

Tim Lincecum apparently still thinks he has something left in the tank.

Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, says that the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner isn’t planning to retire and “is throwing and getting ready for the season,” per Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News.

It’s a bit of a surprising development considering how completely and utterly washed up Lincecum looked last season. He made nine starts for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and posted a 2-6 record with a 9.16 ERA, 32 strikeouts, and 23 walks before his time in a Halos uniform ended with a whimper. Lincecum’s velocity and command seemed completely shot as his offerings were little more than glorified batting practice for opposing hitters.

But the 32-year-old is still hopeful he can still turn things around despite the fact that he is currently without a deal for the 2017 season. With pitchers and catchers set to report in less than a month, Lincecum would probably be fortunate to get even a minor league invite to spring training.

Andrew Benintendi has gained weight to help with durability

Andrew Benintendi

The Boston Red Sox are expecting big things from Andrew Benintendi next season, and the young outfielder is doing his part to live up to the expectations.

Benintendi told reporters this week that he has put on weight this offseason with the goal of becoming more durable.

Benintendi is 22 and was the No. 7 overall pick by the Red Sox in 2015. He shot through the system and made the jump from Double-A straight to the majors last year.

In 34 games with the Red Sox last season, Benintendi batted .295 with a .476 slugging percentage. Boston is hoping the weight gain will help him become more durable for the 162-game season.

Report: Marlins considering Chris Carter, Mark Reynolds

After hitting the second-fewest home runs in the MLB last season, the Miami Marlins are hoping to add some raw power on the free agent market.

According to a report by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN on Friday, the Marlins want to sign a righty first baseman to complement Justin Bour and are considering Chris Carter and Mark Reynolds among other options.

Carter, 30, batted .222/.321/.499 in 160 appearances for the Milwaukee Brewers last season, leading the National League in both home runs (41) and strikeouts (206). Meanwhile, the 33-year-old Reynolds had a better slash line (.282/.356/.450) but posted more modest totals of 14 home runs and 112 strikeouts in 118 games with the Colorado Rockies.

Most of the Marlins’ free-agent advances this offseason have been rebuffed, but they could still salvage their winter by finding that big bat to platoon with the lefty-hitting Bour.

Image via FOX Sports Wisconsin on YouTube

Terry Francona cracks funny Chris Sale joke

Terry Francona

Boston’s addition of Chris Sale is bad news to the AL East, but good news for teams in the AL Central. Terry Francona knows that.

The Cleveland Indians manager attended a Boston writers dinner on Thursday night and cracked a funny joke about Sale.

Sale, who was an All-Star the past five seasons, has been shutting down AL Central offenses for the White Sox since entering the majors in 2010 at age 21. He was traded to the Red Sox in early December for an impressive haul of prospects, including Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech.

Though Francona is happy to have Sale out of the AL Central, he won’t be thrilled to see Moncada and Kopech, the latter of whom throws at Aroldis Chapman speeds.

Orioles, Mark Trumbo close to agreeing on 3-year deal

Mark Trumbo

The Baltimore Orioles and free agent slugger Mark Trumbo are close to agreeing on a 3-year deal, according to reports.

FOX’s Ken Rosenthal says the three-year deal is expected to be for less than $40 million.

Trumbo and the Orioles had been in contact earlier in the offseason, and Baltimore was believed to have had the best offer on the table for the defending AL home run champion. But Trumbo had not signed because he wanted more money, so the O’s pulled the offer off the table. Now it looks like both sides are ready to make a deal.

Trumbo has been a two-time All-Star during his career. He has smashed over 30 home runs in a season three times during his career, but his defense remains a liability. Trumbo just turned 31 years old.

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