Ex-Reds player Ryan Freel dead in suicide

Dec. 23, 2012 at 4:08 PM

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Former Major League Baseball player Ryan Freel has been found dead in his Jacksonville, Fla., home in an apparent suicide, police say.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said Freel, 36, a former outfielder for the Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds, died Saturday of a self-inflicted shotgun wound, The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union reported.

Sgt. Mike Paul told the newspaper the death wasn't being treated as suspicious.

Freel was drafted by the Blue Jays in 1995 and played nine games with the team before being obtained by the Reds, for whom be played six seasons.

The Jacksonville native finished an eight-year career with a .268 batting average, 22 home runs and 122 RBI over 594 games.

Renowned for his enthusiasm, he won the Reds Heart and Hustle Award in 2007.

"The Reds family is deeply saddened to hear of the death of Ryan Freel," the team said in a statement released Sunday. "His teammates and our fans loved him for how hard he played the game, and he loved giving back to the community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."

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