Former Major League Baseball utility infielder Ryan Freel has died at the age of 36.
Freel's death was first reported late Saturday afternoon by First Coast News in Freel's hometown, Jacksonville, Fla. A few hours later, Jacksonville.com reported that the cause of death was suicide, reportedly a self-inflicted shotgun blast, according to Sgt. Mike Paul of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. Authorities are treating Freel's death as a suicide.
Freel spent most of his eight-year MLB career from 2001 to 2009 with the Cincinnati Reds, for whom he played six seasons. He made his Major League debut with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2001.
His career batting average was .268. He also stole 143 bases.
Freel retired from pro ball in 2009 and had most recently worked for BLD Baseball, which stands for Big League Development, an organization that helps develop young players. Freel was also named head baseball coach at St. Joseph Academy in Jacksonville earlier this year in June.