ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay Rays bullpen catcher Jean Ramirez died unexpectedly on Monday, the team announced on Tuesday. He was 28.
Ramirez spent his entire career with the Rays organization. He was originally drafted by the team in the 28th round of the 2016 draft and played in the organization's minor league system for three seasons. He was released in 2018 before receiving an invitation to join the team as a bullpen catcher in 2019.
The Rays did not provide much information on Ramirez's death, but the team's manager, Kevin Cash, said in a statement:
"Jean was an incredible teammate and friend. He brought so much passion and energy each day to our clubhouse and bullpen, and his love for the Rays and baseball was evident to all who interacted with him. He had the biggest heart and most infectious smile. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Jean will be deeply missed."
An often-overlooked role by baseball fans, as bullpen catcher, Ramirez was responsible for warming up the arms of the Rays' best pitchers before they took the mound.
In 2020, when the team competed in the World Series at Globe Life Field, Ramirez was just 30 minutes from his hometown of Saginaw. His parents, grandmother, brother and area friends were all in attendance.