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Monday, April 28
Bird dies week after being hit by thrown ball

Associated Press

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The daddy osprey hit with a baseball allegedly thrown by a minor league pitcher has died, officials said.

Ozzy the osprey died Sunday at the Audubon Birds of Prey Center in Maitland, said Lynda White, a spokeswoman at the center. The bird was one of a breeding pair that lived for years on a 40-foot light pole in left field at Jackie Robinson Ballpark.

Witnesses said Jae Kuk Ryu, a 19-year-old South Korean pitcher for the Class A Daytona Cubs, tried several times during pregame practice April 21 to knock the osprey from its perch with a baseball before finally hitting it.

At the time, Ozzy was nesting with its mate and a brood of fuzzy chicks.

Ryu was charged Thursday by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission with harming a protected bird. The second-degree misdemeanor carries a maximum fine of $500 and 60 days in jail.

Commission officials said Monday that the death doesn't affect the charges.

Ryu was later demoted to the Class A Lansing Lugnuts of the Midwest League. Cubs general manager Buck Rogers said Ryu was remorseful.

Ospreys are recognized by the state as a species of special concern, meaning their habitats are vulnerable.

The bird's mate, Harriet, will raise her chicks and probably take a new mate next season, White said. Another osprey already has been seen at the park, helping feed the babies.

Ryu isn't the first ballplayer to target a bird with a thrown ball. On Aug. 4, 1983, Yankees outfielder Dave Winfield killed a seagull in Toronto with a warmup throw. The Ontario police charged him with animal cruelty, although the charge was later dropped.

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