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Yordano Ventura laid to rest

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Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, who was killed in an automobile accident early Sunday morning, was laid to rest yesterday in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic. This story from the Kansas City Star, who had reporters Vahe Gregorian and Maria Torres on the scene, is touching, evocative and above all sad.

The funeral took place on the field of the ballpark where he learned to play the game as a boy but was attended by the teammates with whom he scaled to baseball’s greatest heights, his manager Ned Yost and Royals general manager Dayton Moore.

Sal Perez gave the eulogy:

“He wasn’t just a teammate or a friend. He was a brother. We’ve known him since he started playing for Kansas City. His moments aside, he had a big heart. It’s incredibly sad what we’re going through right now . . . I regret the loss of our brother Ventura. Only God knows why he does these things. “I love you. And on behalf of the Kansas City Royals, I wish for all of you strength.”

Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Greg Holland, Jarrod Dyson and Chris Getz, sang at the ceremony.

Rest in peace, Yordano Ventura.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.