Roy Halladay dies in plane crash in Gulf of Mexico

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A small airplane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pasco County, Florida this afternoon. After hours of growing speculation, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office confirmed moments ago that the owner and pilot of the plane was retired Phillies and Blue Jays star Roy Halladay. He was the only person on board and was killed in the crash. He was 40 years old.

Halladay was an amateur pilot whose social media accounts were dominated of late by photos and videos of his plane and his flights. He recently purchased an Icon A5 aircraft, which is a light amphibious sport plane. He posted about buying it just a few weeks ago. Photos from the crash site show an Icon A5, with the same tail number as the plane Halladay purchased in mid-October and of which he posted pictures to his social media accounts:

The Pasco County Sheriff referred all questions regarding the circumstances of the crash to the National Transportation Safety Board. They will no doubt be following up with public statements soon.

Halladay pitched in the majors for 16 years, starring for the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies, winning Cy Young Awards in 2003 and 2010. He retired after the 2013 season with a career record of 203-105 and a 3.38 ERA. He was, without question, a Hall of Fame talent.

The Phillies released the following statement: “We are numb over the very tragic news about Roy Halladay’s untimely death. There are no words to describe the sadness that the entire Phillies family is feeling over the loss of one of the most respected human beings to ever play the game. It is with the heaviest of hearts that we pass along our condolences to Brandy, Ryan and Braden.”

Major League Baseball followed with a statement of their own:

The Blue Jays, the franchise with which Halladay broke into the majors, released the following statement: “The Toronto Blue Jays organization is overcome by gried with the tragic loss of one of the franchise’s greatest and most respected players, but even better human being. It is impossible to express what he has meant to this franchise, the city and its fans. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

Colby Rasmus signs a minor league deal with the Orioles

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Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that Colby Rasmus has agreed to a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles.

Rasmus, 31, played only 37 games with the Rays last year. The reason: the previous offseason he underwent surgery to repair his left hip labrum and his core muscle, and the hip continued to bother him throughout spring training. He began the season on the disabled list and made his debut on May 2, hitting .281/.318/.579 in 129 plate appearances before going back on the DL June 23. He’d never return, “stepping away” from the game in the words of the club, which placed him on the restricted list for the remainder of the season.