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Tampa Bay Rays bullpen catcher Jean Ramirez dies at 28

Tampa Bay Rays bullpen catcher Jean Ramirez died Monday, the team announced. He was 28.

No further details were provided by the team.

"Jean was an incredible teammate and friend," Rays manager Kevin Cash said in a statement Tuesday. "He brought so much passion and energy each day to our clubhouse and bullpen, and his love for the Rays and baseball was evident to all who interacted with him. He had the biggest heart and most infectious smile. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Jean will be deeply missed."

A native of Puerto Rico, Ramirez was a 28th-round pick of the Rays in the 2016 draft and spent three seasons in the team's minor league system, playing catcher, first base and some outfield.

The team ultimately released him as a player, but he quickly found his way back onto Tampa Bay's major league staff in 2019. This past season was his third as the Rays' bullpen catcher.

"We extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to Jean's family," Rays president of baseball operations Erik Neander said in a statement. "He was a caring teammate and friend. He exuded so much joy in all he did, and his kind heart was truly a gift to all. As we process this unexpected and difficult loss, we are grateful for the times we shared with Jean."