Jean Ramirez, Rays bullpen catcher, dead at 28

Tampa Bay Rays bullpen catcher Jean Ramirez died, the team announced Tuesday. He was 28.

The Rays announced the news on Twitter. Quotes from manager Kevin Cash and president of baseball operations Erik Neander accompanied the post.

The Rays did not announce Ramirez's cause of death. Neander called it an "unexpected and difficult loss."

Cash said Ramirez, "Brought so much passion and energy each day to our clubhouse and bullpen." Neander added, "He exuded so much joy in all he did."

Ramirez was selected by the Rays in the 28th round of the 2016 MLB draft. He spent three seasons in the minors before the team released him in 2018.

The team had an opening for a new bullpen catcher and coach, and asked Ramirez if he wanted to return in 2019. Ramirez was with the team when it reached the World Series in 2020. The event was held at Globe Life Field in Texas as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ramirez, who went to high school in Texas and still lived in the area, said being with the team during the 2020 World Series was "the best moment" of his life, according to WTSP in Tampa Bay.

"It’s awesome," Ramirez said. "I don’t really know how many words I can put together to explain what this feeling is like.

"Me being from around the area, people have been reaching out, saying how proud they are and how exciting of a moment this is, and I completely agree. This is the best moment of my life."

Tampa Bay Rays logo on jersey.
The Rays paid tribute to bullpen catcher Jean Ramirez. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)