Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed Sunday in a car accident in the Dominican Republic, hours after former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate accident.
Ventura, 25, signed with the Royals as a non-drafted free agent in 2008. He debuted with the Royals in 2013 and went 38-31 with a 3.89 ERA. He was a friend of Oscar Tavares, the St. Louis Cardinals outfielder who was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic in 2014.
Wearing a cap with Tavares’ initials and number written on it, Ventura threw seven shutout innings in a 10-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants in Game 6 of the 2014 World Series.
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“Our prayers right now are with Yordano’s family as we mourn this young man’s passing,” said Royals general manager Dayton Moore in a statement. “He was so young and so talented, full of youthful exuberance and always brought a smile to everyone he interacted with. We will get through this as an organization, but right now is a time to celebrate the life of Yordano.”
Marte was an infielder with the Braves, Indians and Diamondbacks. He last played in the majors in 2014.
The Dominican Republic has the second-highest traffic-related death rate in the world, The Associated Press reported. Officials there believe alcohol, speed and a blatant disregard for traffic laws is to blame. Oscar Taveras, Jose Oliva, Rufino Linares and Jose Uribe are among players who have died in crashes in the country.
Texas Rangers prospect Ronald Guzman was involved in a car accident in the Dominican Republic in November 2014 in which a motorcyclist died.
According to reports, the motorcyclist hit Guzman’s SUV near his hometown of La Vega. The driver was thrown by the impact to the side of the road and was killed instantly.
Tests revealed that the driver had been under the influence of alcohol, and Guzman was cleared of any wrongdoing.
This report includes material from Star-Telegram archives.