The pre-game ceremony concluded with Royals manager Ned Yost escorting Ventura's mother, Marisol Hernandez, and grandfather, Raul Hernandez, out to the mound to throw out the first pitch to Royals catcher Salvador Perez. We just have to play for him. Ventura's death in an offseason auto crash in his native Dominican Republic left a gaping hole in the tightly knit organization, and the wounds that began to heal in spring training were raw once again as the Royals prepared to honor Ventura before playing their home opener against the Oakland Athletics.
There are reminders of the exuberant pitcher everywhere one turns at Kauffman Stadium. The fiery pitcher, an important part of two pennant-winning rotations, died in a January vehicle crash in his native Dominican Republic.
An emotional moment came when Alex Gordon and Danny Duffy led a group of Royals onto the field carrying a banner with the words "ACE 30" honoring the late Yordano Ventura. In 93 starts in Kansas City, he went 38-31 with a 3.89 ERA and 1-2 with a 4.66 ERA in nine postseason starts. "It's still heartbreaking to a lot of guys in there".
Yordano Ventura died in a traffic accident early Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in his native Dominican Republic. "It makes you realize how lucky you are and not to take anything for granted, because it can all be taken away".
According to police reports, while attempting to turn on the road, he zigzagged and over-corrected the auto, before ramming it through a caution sign and guardrail.
The Royals (2-5) and Athletics (4-4) will resume their three game series on Wednesday night.
Cotton, acquired in the Rich Hill/Josh Reddick deal with the Dodgers at the trade deadline previous year, shut down the Royals with just two hits over seven innings in front of an Opening Day Kauffman Stadium crowd that wanted to be fired up but never got the chance.