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Royals Pitcher Ventura Dies in Car Accident

Los Angeles (AFP) – Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died Sunday after a car accident in his native Dominican Republic, the Major League Baseball team confirmed in a statement.

Ventura, 25, a member of the Royals pitching rotation during their 2015 World Series win, died early Sunday, the team said.

No details of the accident were immediately available.

Ventura’s death came on the same day that former major league player Andy Marte died in a separate car crash, also in the Dominican Republic, according to a statement by his management company on Twitter.

“Our prayers right now are with Yordano’s family as we mourn this young man’s passing,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said 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 mourn and celebrate the life of Yordano.”

Ventura, who made his MLB debut in 2013, enjoyed a break out season in 2014, going 14-10.

He forged a reputation as a power pitcher, hurling a 96.2 miles per hour fastball in 2014, the second fastest in the league. Overall he had a 38-31 record at Major League level.

Team-mates and fellow professionals took to Twitter on Sunday to express their condolences to Ventura.

“I love you Ace. I don’t know what to say other then I’m going to miss you a lot,” Royals pitcher Mike Moustakas wrote.

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer added: “Tragedy has no bias, people. Please, please be safe out there. Condolences to the Ventura family. #RIP Yordano, loved watching you throw.”

Archer’s Tampa Bay team-mate David Price lamented the loss of Ventura at the nascent stage of his professional career.

“What terrible news this morning! RIP Yordano. This kid was so talented and was only scratching the surface. Condolences to his family,” Archer wrote.

Several players paid joint tribute to Ventura and Marte, 33, who spent nearly a decade in Major League Baseball before signing with the KT Wiz in South Korea for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

Marte broke into the Majors in 2005 with the Atlanta Braves before being traded to the Cleveland Indians the following year.

“My heart goes out to the family & friends of  #RIPAndyMarte #RIPYordanoVentura…Sad day for the baseball community. They’ll be missed,” wrote Washington Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton.

The dual fatalities come just four months after the baseball world was left in shock by the boating accident death of Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez at the age of 24.

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