The sports world woke up to some tragic news on Sunday morning.
Former major leaguer Andy Marte and Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura were both killed in separate car accidents in the Dominican Republic within an hour of each other, according to multiple reports. A Royals representative confirmed the death of 25-year-old Ventura.
The Cubs and White Sox took to Twitter to give their condolences:
Ventura was a member of the Royals from 2013-16 and won a World Series title in 2015 with Ben Zobrist and Wade Davis, who the Cubs acquired this offseason for Jorge Soler. Ventura also played with White Sox pitcher James Shields in 2013-14.
Marte, 33, played a majority of his seven-year career with the Cleveland Indians. He was teammates with Todd Hollandsworth (Atlanta 2005), Kerry Wood (Cleveland 2009-10), and Miguel Montero (Arizona 2014).
The Cubs bullpen has been under the microscope recently as they've hit another rough patch.
With Pedro Strop on the injured list, Cubs relievers have combined for a 5.04 ERA and 1.72 WHIP over the last week, allowing 32 hits and 11 walks against only 15 strikeouts in 25 innings.
The Cubs are shaking things up, sending veteran left-hander Xavier Cedeno to the injured list with left wrist inflammation and promoting right-hander Rowan Wick from Triple-A Iowa.
The Cubs acquired Wick, 26, from the Padres back in November for minor leaguer Jason Vosler. Wick has pitched well in Triple-A Iowa this season — in 13 outings, he has a 2.84 ERA and 1.11 WHIP while striking out 25 batters in 19 innings.
Of his 13 appearances, 7 have been of a multi-inning variety and he hasn't allowed a run in his last 3 games (6.2 innings).
Wick made 10 appearances for the Padres in San Diego last year, sporting a 6.48 ERA in 8.1 innings.
Cedeno, 32, signed with the Cubs just before spring training started, but has been hampered by the same wrist issue all spring. He was first activated off the injured list less than two weeks ago and did not give up a run in 5 appearances, though he surrendered 4 hits and 3 walks in just 2 total innings of work.
With Wick in tow, the Cubs bullpen now looks like this:
Carl Edwards Jr.
Strop is working his way back from a hamstring injury and threw a 25-pitch bullpen Monday, so his return may not be far off.
Brandon Morrow resumed his throwing program Monday, as well, but is still weeks away from returning even in a best-case scenario.
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Sometimes, making these rankings can get repetitive. The Astros were the best team last week and they're the best team this week and they'll be the best team next week. When there's not a lot of variety, it can be more fun to focus in on who was the loser of the week. This week's definitive loser? The Mets. Congrats to you, the Mets. It's low hanging fruit, but sometimes you want to conserve energy. How'd everyone else do? To the rankings!
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