Royals Pitcher Yordano Ventura Dies in Car Accident

Kansas City Royals electric starting pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in an automobile accident early Sunday morning in the Dominican Republic, the team confirmed. Ventura was 25 years old.

Colonel Jacobo Mateo Moquete, director of communications for the Dominican Republic military police, released (note: the linked Tweet, as well as the rest of Moquete’s feed, may contain sensitive material) that Ventura perished on the Juan Adrian highway in San Jose de Ocoa and was the only passenger involved in the single-car accident. ESPN correspondent Cristian Moreno reported that Ventura was said to be under the influence, although toxicology reports — which have yet to be conducted — will determine if the report is factual.

The Royals signed Ventura as an amateur free agent in 2008, and the right-handed hurler made his big-league debut in 2013 as a September call-up. In three seasons in a regular starter’s role, Ventura went 38-30 in 90 starts with a 3.91 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, and a 459:205 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 532.1 innings. Ventura’s two complete games in 2016 were a team-high on the Royals and ranked as third-most in the pitching-rich American League Central, trailing only Chris Sale and Corey Kluber.

Ventura played an important role in the Royals’ recent reign, one that saw the club win consecutive American League pennants in 2014 and 2015 and the World Series championship in the latter season, their first since 1985. Ventura logged 46.1 innings in ten games (nine starts) during the postseason, including seven shutout frames in Game Six of the 2014 World Series against the San Francisco Giants.

“Our prayers right now are with Yordano’s family as we mourn this young man’s passing,” said Royals Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manger Dayton Moore in a statement issued by the club. “He was so young and so talented,” remarked Moore, adding, “[he was] 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.”

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