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Minor league pitcher dies in car crash in Dominican Republic

A minor league pitcher in MLB's Cincinnati Reds' organization has died and two other baseball players were hospitalized after a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Saturday morning, the Reds said.

A minor league pitcher in MLB’s Cincinnati Reds’ organization has died and two other baseball players were hospitalized after a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Saturday morning, the Reds said.

Jairo Capellán, a pitcher with the Reds minor league team in the Dominican Republic, died in the crash, according to Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams.

Raul Hernandez, also a pitcher, is in critical condition at a local hospital, and outfielder Emilio Garcia is in the hospital in stable condition, the Reds said.

All three are 19 years old and recently played with the Dominican Summer League Reds. They were each born in Santo Domingo, according to their online bios.

“We received this terrible news and send our condolences and support to the families, friends and teammates of Jairo, Raul and Emilio,” Reds CEO Bob Castellini said. “Our Dominican operations are an integral part of the Reds organization, and this tragedy affects us all. We will remain closely involved to help everyone through this difficult time.”

Capellán appeared as a relief pitcher in 18 games with the Dominican Summer League Reds this summer.

“Jairo was a talented young pitcher with a bright future who was taken from us much too soon,” said Joe Noboa, the Reds Latin America field coordinator. “He will be missed by everyone who knew him — his teammates, coaches and our Dominican Academy staff.”

The Dominican Republic has the highest rate of road traffic deaths in the Americas and one of the highest rates in the world, according to a 2015 road safety analysis from the World Health Organization. The Dominican Republic road traffic death rate of 29.3 per 100,000 people is almost three times higher than in the United States.

A number of baseball players have died in car crashes in the Dominican Republic in recent years.

Yordano Ventura, a pitcher who helped the Kansas City Royals win two pennants and a World Series, died in a car wreck there in January 2017 at the age of 25.

St. Louis Cardinals prospect Oscar Taveras died at the age of 22 in a car crash in the Dominican Republic in October 2014.