By Sun News Services
11:18 AM EST, December 23, 2012
Former Major League Baseball utility infielder Ryan Freel, who played briefly for the Baltimore Orioles, has died at the age of 36.
Freel's death was first reported late Saturday afternoon by First Coast News in Freel's hometown, Jacksonville, Fla. A few hours later, Jacksonville.com reported that the cause of death was suicide, reportedly a self-inflicted shotgun blast, according to Sgt. Mike Paul of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. Authorities are treating Freel's death as a suicide.
Freel, who played nine games for the Orioles in 2009, was acquired from the Reds in December 2008 as part of a trade that sent catcher Ramon Hernandez to Cincinnati.
Freel was 2-for-15 (.133) in limited action for the Orioles early in the 2009 season before the team traded him to the Cubs for Joey Gathright in May. Freel played 14 games for the Cubs in 2009.
He spent most of his eight-year MLB career from 2001 to 2009 with the Reds, for whom he played six seasons. He made his Major League debut with the Blue Jays in 2001.
His career batting average was .268. He also stole 143 bases.
Freel retired from pro ball in 2009 and had most recently worked for BLD Baseball, which stands for Big League Development, an organization that helps develop young players. Freel was also named head baseball coach at St. Joseph Academy in Jacksonville earlier this year in June.
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