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Angels pitcher Adenhart dies in car crash

LOS Angeles Angels rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart died in a car accident early Thursday morning, police said, just hours after he hurled six shutout innings against the Oakland Athletics.

Adenhart, 22, was among three people who died after the car they were in was struck by a minivan in Fullerton, California, which is only a few miles from Anaheim Stadium in Anaheim.

The car carrying Adenhart - who was not driving - and three other people then struck a utility pole, according to Fullerton police.

A man driving the minivan fled the scene of the accident on foot and was arrested by police a short time later on suspicion of a hit-and-run, Fullerton police said.

Two people in the car died at the scene and Adenhart and another man were taken to UC Irvine Medical Center, where the pitcher died due to injuries sustained in the accident.

The fourth person in the car was in critical condition, police said.

Adenhart, a native of Silver Spring, Maryland, was playing in only his fourth Major League Baseball game on Wednesday night. The Angels were leading 3-0 when he left the game after six innings but they lost 4-6.

He threw 12 innings in three games last year for the Angels. When he made his major league debut on May 1, 2008, he was the youngest pitcher in the majors.

"The Angels family has suffered a tremendous loss today," Angels General Manager Tony Reagins said in a statement on the team's Website.

"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."

Baltimore Orioles manager Dave Trembley said he watched Adenhart pitch on television on Wednesday. "It really puts things in perspective. Don't take anything for granted, number one appreciate what you have."

Adenhart pitched for six teams in four seasons in the minor leagues, posting 37 wins and an ERA of 3.87.


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