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Orix mourn apparent suicide death of outfielder

Date Posted: 2010-02-09

Three days after a budding young Orix Buffaloes outfielder apparently committed suicide by jumping from his hotel on Miyakojima, club officials are paying silent tribute to his contributions to the team.
Hiroyuki Oze was found by hotel staff Friday, bleeding and unconscious. Police say suicide is a strong consideration since there were no signs of foul play. Oze and the Orix Buffaloes are conducting spring training camp on Miyakojima. The 24-year-old Oze joined the Buffaloes in 2008 following his graduation from Kinki University. He was the team’s third-round draft pick, and the 13th player chosen overall in the draft.
The team’s flag has been hoisted to half-mast at the Miyakojima ball park where the team is practicing, and players Monday dressed in their navy road uniforms with a black ribbon on the right sleeve, rather than the blue and white uniforms normally worn. Team President Hiroaki Nishima yesterday paid a silent tribute to Oze at the Miiyakojima Citizerns Ballpark on Miyakojima. Oze, a left-handed hitter who batted .303 during 78 games on the league’s top team last season, reportedly had talked with teammates on Thursday about how he was working to gain more playing time. “I’ve been training unbelievably hard,” he told them. “This is my chance to catch up.”

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