December 15, 2017

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Thousands pay respects to Ventura, 'a brother'

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8:45 PM ET

ESPN.com news services

Royals teammates Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez, Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez and retired countryman David Ortiz were among the thousands to pay their final respects to the late Yordano Ventura on Tuesday in his hometown of Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic.

The 25-year-old Ventura died in a car crash early Sunday in the Dominican.

“Bad, it’s hard to believe. For Kansas City and for his family,” Perez told ESPN Deportes. “You can say that we grew up together, we played together all our lives. Ten years of knowing Ventura since he signed [with the Royals]. It was unexpected when they called me to tell me Yordano had passed away. Bad, bad.

David Ortiz was among the many to comfort Marisol Hernandez, the mother of late Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

“We didn’t lose a teammate, we lost a brother. We lost a brother in the way that Dayton [Moore], our general manager, raised us in this career that we have. A few words, [we have] to remember him in the good way, the passion he had to play ball, he loved to compete. These are things that only God knows, and we can’t understand them here on Earth.”

A final viewing was held Tuesday morning in the home of Ventura’s mother. From there, a funeral procession began in Las Terrenas and marched miles throughout the country as kids wearing Ventura’s No. 30 watched a truck carrying his casket go by.

Seated in back were Hosmer and Perez, while among those walking behind were Moore, Royals president Dan Glass, manager Ned Yost and teammates Alcides Escobar and Mike Moustakas.

“What can I say? We’re all sad, it’s a really hard loss for all of us, even harder for his mother, his close family,” Escobar told ESPN Deportes. “He was family to us as well; we spent eight months together seeing each other every day. This leaves a big hole in all of us.”

Royals teammates always rushed to protect their little brother, but the pitcher was just figuring out how to have a spark without a temper.

In just four months, accidents have taken the lives of Marlins ace Jose Fernandez, Royals ace Yordano Ventura and ex-MLBer Andy Marte. Where does the game go from here?

On Sept. 17, 2013, in his major league debut, Yordano Ventura

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