Andy Marte dies at 33 in car crash

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Former major league infielder Andy Marte was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic early Sunday morning.

Metropolitan traffic authorities said Marte died early Sunday morning when the Mercedes Benz he was driving hit a house along a road between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles north of Santo Domingo, the capital.

Marte's family was holding a vigil for him on Sunday and planned to bury him within hours.

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Venturaalso was killed in a separate car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning.

J.M.G. Baseball, which represented Marte, confirmed his death in a tweet.

"Today is a very sad day for our entire game and particularly for the many loyal fans in the Dominican Republic, the home of both Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte," commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

Marte was playing winter league baseball forLas Aguilas Cibaenas.

"We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Andy Marte and Yordano Ventura. It's never easy to lose a member of our fraternity, and there are no words to describe the feeling of losing two young men in the prime of their lives," MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families, friends, teammates and fans throughout the United States and Latin America."

Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera was one of many major league players to mourn Marte and Ventura on Sunday.

"Two unfortunate losses, not only for Dominican Republic, but for the whole Latin America people," Cabrera told

"I feel a lot of sadness because they were friends of mine. I'm sending my condolences to their families. The whole baseball world is in mourning," Cabrera said.

Two other active Dominican baseball players have died on the country's highways in recent years.

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras -- a close friend of Ventura -- died in 2014 when he crashed in his hometown of Puerto Plata. He was 22. Shortstop Andujar Cedeno died at age 31 in a 2000 crash in the city of La Romana.

A 2015 study by the World Health Organization found that the Dominican Republic had the highest traffic accident death rate in the Americas, with a rate of 29.3 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Marte played the past two seasons for the KT Wiz of the Korean Baseball Organization. He last played in the majors with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2014.

Marte's final major league appearance came in a game started by Ventura. According to Baseball Reference, Marte appeared as a pinch hitter on Aug. 6, 2014, striking out to end the game. Marte didn't face Ventura, who was the winning pitcher.

The Diamondbacks were among Marte's former teams to remember him with tweets Sunday.

Marte was considered a top prospect when he signed with the Atlanta Braves in 2000 but never translated his potential to major league success. He played both first base and third base in the majors and had a .218 batting average with 21 home runs and 99 RBIs in seven seasons for the Diamondbacks, Braves andCleveland Indians.

ESPNdeportes' Enrique Rojas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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