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MLB

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura dies in car crash in Dominican Republic

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura reacts as he leaves the game during the sixth inning in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Oct. 23, 2015.

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has been killed in car crash in the Dominican Republic, the team announced this morning. He was 25.

Authorities in Dominican Republic confirmed Ventura's death this morning and the death of former major league infielder Andy Marte, saying both died in separate accidents this weekend.

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Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo says Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.

About to enter his fourth full season with the Royals, Ventura was 38-31 with a 3.89 ERA since being called up late in the 2013 season. He made 93 career starts.

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In 2016, he was 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA. The season before, he helped lead the Royals to the World Series title, going 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA.

The Royals released a statement on Sunday afternoon.

"Our prayers right now are with Yordano's family as we morn this young man's passing," Royals Senior Vice President and General Manager Dayton Moore said. "He was so young and so talented, full of youthful exhuberance and always brought a smile to everyone he interacted with. We will get through this as an organization, but right now it is a time to mourn and celebrate the life of Yordano."

This past season, Ventura was suspended nine games for hitting Orioles star third baseman Manny Machado with a fastball in the back in an early June game. Machado was suspended four games for charging the mound and connecting with a punch to Ventura's face.

In an earlier at-bat, Ventura had pitched Machado inside before Machado hit a drive to left that appeared to be a home run but ended up as a long out. As Machado neared first base, the two exchanged words. Machado was hit in his next at-bat.

Orioles Hall of Fame pitcher and broadcaster Jim Palmer said on Twitter he was "saddened" to hear of the players' deaths, and said Ventura had "so much natural ability."

Marte, 33, was most recently with the Indians organization, where he spent five seasons of his seven in Major League Baseball. Marte, who most recently played in the majors with the Diamondbacks in 2014, was a career .218 hitter with 21 home runs and 99 RBIs.


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