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Tragedy overshadows game


Tragedy overshadows game
Tim Bogar didn't know Nick Adenhart well, but in July 2006 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Adenhart was on the roster of the US Futures team for which Bogar coached. So when he heard of Adenhart's death yesterday morning in a hit-and-run car crash in Fullerton, Calif., a couple of hours after the 22-year-old Angels righthander had shut out the A's for six innings, it evoked myriad emotions.

Not only did he feel for Adenhart, his family, and the two other passengers who were killed, but the tragedy conjured memories of two former teammates Bogar considered close friends who died all too young.

``Darryl Kile and Ken Caminiti were very close friends of mine,'' said Bogar, the Red Sox first base coach, whose major league career brought him to Houston from 1997-2000. It was there he met Caminiti, who was into his second tour of duty with the Astros. It was also there where during the 1997 season he befriended Kile and remained close to him until his death June 22, 2002 from coronary disease.

Another Cardinals and Red Sox farmhand, Josh Hancock, died in a car accident April 29, 2007, while drinking and talking on his cellphone.

``When I heard about Nick, you know, you just start thinking about things and, really, the wonderful things about Darryl and Ken that kind of pop into your head. But at the same time, it's just very difficult to think that they're no longer with us and [neither is] Nick Adenhart, obviously a wonderful kid and a very talented kid who was up in the big leagues at age 22, and the world of potential he had. It's just devastating.''

Bogar didn't know Adenhart well mostly because his job was to work with infielders. Adenhart spent his time with the pitching coaches on the Futures squad.

``Everyone spoke so highly of him. A kid from a nice family who was rising fast and had all the tools,'' said Bogar. ``Obviously, he's in the Angels' starting rotation at a young age, so you know what kind of ability he must have had and how far he'd come.''

And so the trip out West for the Sox was quite emotional.

``It'll be tough,'' said Brad Penny, who pitched for the Dodgers last year. ``But not as tough as it is for that family right now. My heart goes out for them. What a tragedy.''

The Red Sox had observed a moment of silence before the game in memory of Adenhart.

``It's horrible,'' said Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, a coach in the Angels system for many years. ``I didn't really know Nick. I know the guys there are having a real hard time today. It's just awful - all of us who have kids - you know that it's an awful moment. Where the accident occurred is not far from my home. I was thinking about it a lot during the course of the game. That is beyond my scope. [Mike Scioscia] is great and he'll handle it as well as anyone could. They'll hang together because that's a tight-knit group.''

Jason Varitek thought the Angels did the right thing by postponing last night's game against the A's.

``You lose some part of your family and one of your young teammates, there's other people in the car from what I understand and their families, his family, his teammates, everybody. It's a tragic thing that happened, and our hearts go out to all of them,'' Varitek said.

Varitek imagined it would be difficult for the Sox and Angels when they meet tonight.

``They lost a family member,'' he said. ``They lost a teammate. His family is, I'm sure, crushed.''

Terry Francona said, ``It's almost numbing. It's just crushing. Obviously, our thoughts are with his family and the Angels . That's just hard to take. As much as we care about Baseball, it becomes secondary in a hurry.''

Adenhart was not projected to make the Angels rotation, but with John Lackey, Ervin Santana, and Kelvim Escobar on the disabled list, the rookie, who went 3-0 with a 3.12 ERA in spring training was penciled in to start the season. His start Wednesday night drew rave reviews and scouts around the ballpark yesterday thought he had a great future.

J.D. Drew was a Cardinals teammate of Kile who recalled when the team heard about his death.

``It was tough,'' recalled Drew. ``My little brother Stephen, who's with the Diamondbacks now, was in town. He was visiting for the summer. He was coming to the park. I had to call him and tell him to go back. There was a misunderstanding with the fans, not understanding why the game was canceled. I think once the word got out that something tragic had happened, they finally figured out what it was. That's a pretty tough situation to have to go back and start playing Baseball when one of your key contributors, one of your guys, one of your leaders in the clubhouse [dies].

``Ultimately, the biggest respect is to go out there and play hard and play for that guy.''

Drew added, ``It's very tragic and I know it hits home in the clubhouse, especially when you're part of the team.''

Sox players heard the news while watching ESPN in the morning. Dustin Pedroia was heartbroken.

``Everyone is sick to their stomach,'' he said. ``I didn't know him personally. What a tragedy. He was 22 years old. Just getting started. Great stuff. It's tough to even think about.''

Asked about Adenhart, Chris Carter stood motionless and in tears. He never knew Adenhart, but ``I just asked myself how could something like that happen? To be in that position of being one of the best pitchers in the world and then looking forward to a great life and career and suddenly it ends like that? My God. I just can't imagine what his family is going through.''

The Red Sox and Angels will play Baseball tonight with heavy hearts.

Nick Cafardo can be reached at cafardo@globe.com


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 10, 2009

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