Outfielder Danny Clyburn came across as the strong, silent type during his brief time with the Devil Rays in 1999. Early Tuesday morning, according to police, he was shot to death following an argument in his South Carolina hometown.
Clyburn, who was 37, made the opening day roster after being acquired late in spring training from Baltimore. He played in 28 games (20 starts), hitting .198 with three homers and five RBIs, before being sent to Triple A in June. He finished the 1999 season in Durham and was released the next spring.
"He had outstanding God-given talent, loved to play the game, worked hard every day and carried himself in a quiet, classy manner," former Devil Rays general manager Chuck LaMar said Tuesday. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."
The Rays acquired Clyburn in a trade for pitcher Jason Johnson, who overcame his battles with diabetes to pitch eight more seasons, winning 56 games. Clyburn, who had played briefly with the Orioles in 1997-98, never made it back to the majors after leaving the Devil Rays, though he did play in the independent Atlantic League from 2002-04.
Clyburn, according to police reports in the Herald newspaper, was shot around 2 a.m. in Lancaster, S.C., after arguing with Derrick Lamont Mcilwain, 36, who was charged with murder and weapons possession after turning himself in.
The cause of the argument has not been disclosed.
Clyburn is the fourth former Devil Rays player to die, following Cory Lidle (plane crash, October 2006), Joe Kennedy (in his sleep, November 2007) and Jeremi Gonzalez (struck by lightning, May 2008).
Around the majors
HAMILTON RELAPSE: Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton has been to New York to visit with doctors for Major League Baseball and the players' association following his admitted relapse with alcohol. General manager Jon Daniels said Hamilton, the former Rays top prospect, was accompanied to New York on Monday by Shayne Kelley, the team's newly hired major-league staff assistant whose job will include being in a support role for Hamilton.
CUBAN STAR ARRIVES: Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, 26, was granted a visitor's visa to leave the Dominican Republic and met with Marlins officials in Miami.
A'S: The contracts of general manager Billy Beane and team president Michael Crowley will be extended through the 2019 season.
DODGERS: Left-hander Clayton Kershaw, 23, the NL Cy Young Award winner, agreed to a $19 million, two-year contract.
RANGERS: Shortstop Elvis Andrus, 23, agreed to a three-year deal, avoiding arbitration.
ROYALS: Leftfielder Alex Gordon, who turns 28 Friday, is near a one-year deal that would avoid arbitration, the Kansas City Star reported. The deal likely would be for around $5 million.
YANKEES: Utilityman Bill Hall, 32, agreed to a minor-league contract and was invited to spring training.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.