Angels Adenhart dead at 22

Jason Coldiron@@tweetme1979Correspondent IApril 9, 2009

TEMPE, AZ - FEBRUARY 22:  Pitch Nick Adenhart #90 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim poses during Photo Day on February 22, 2007 at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe Arizona.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Last night I watched the A's against the Angels. The Angels pitcher, Nick Adenhart, was great. He didn't allow the A's a run in six innings of work (although the A's came back and won).

This morning I turned to one of my favorite sports websites to find that the Adenhart and two others in the car were killed last night when a minivan ran a red light and killed him instantly.

Adenhart, 22, died after undergoing surgery, University of California, Irvine Medical Center spokesman John Murray said.

"Nick's family expresses sincere gratitude for all the help the Angels have provided," the Adenhart family said in a statement. "He lived his dream and was blessed to be part of an organization comprised of such warm, caring, and compassionate people. The Angels were his extended family. Thanks to all of Nick's loyal supporters and fans throughout his career. He will always be in everyone's hearts forever."

Teammate Tori Hunter was shocked by the news. "I'm in shock right now," Hunter said. "He just pitched last night. It doesn't seem like this is happening. This is real life. This isn't about baseball. This is his whole life, he had his whole life ahead of him. He's only 22, he's still a kid. He was a great kid, he was funny, he was very popular in the clubhouse and off the field. People loved him."

Adenhart and three other people were in a silver Mitsubishi that was struck shortly before 12:30 a.m. local time by a minivan that ran a red light and also hit another vehicle, police said.

"The Angels family has suffered a tremendous loss today. We are deeply saddened and shocked by this tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Nick's family, friends, loved ones and fans," Angels general manager Tony Reagins said in the statement.

Police Lt. Craig Brower said the minivan driver fled the crash scene and was captured a short time later. The driver was arrested and booked for investigation of felony hit-and-run.

Adenhart, a 6'3", 185-pounder from Silver Spring, Md., was a 14th-round pick in the 2004 draft, and made his major league debut on May 1, 2008, also against the Athletics.

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