Some of Major League Baseball's biggest Cuban-born stars put dozens of boys through batting, pitching and catching drills in a sunny Havana ballpark.
Sandy Acevedo, a prospect who signed with the New York Yankees on his 18th birthday last July and was slated to make his minor-league debut this season, has been killed in a car crash, the team announced.
The Yankees said Acevedo, a third baseman, died Saturday night in the Dominican Republic. A moment of silence was held for him at Yankee Stadium before Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays, and a picture of Acevedo batting was shown on the giant video screen in center field.
Acevedo signed with the Yankees as an international free agent and was expected to play this year in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He was born in the Dominican Republic and lived in Santo Domingo.
According to MLB.com, Donny Rowland, the Yankees' director of international scouting, told Scout.com that the team discovered Acevedo during a try-out for the pitcher Yoan López, who went on to sign with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
"Acevedo was one of the hitters that we brought in to face him," Rowland explained, "and he absolutely owned him in three out of four at-bats and crushed stuff. That's when our staff became sold on this guy. 'We like the pitcher, but who is the hitter?'"
In the fall of 2014, accidents in the D.R. claimed the lives of St. Louis Cardinals rookie Oscar Taveras and Texas Rangers minor-league prospect, Ronald Guzman.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.