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04/09/09 12:44 PM ET

Royals stunned by death of Adenhart

Players express grief, shock at news of Angels pitcher

CHICAGO -- As news reporting the death of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart filtered through the visitors' clubhouse on Thursday morning, the Royals expressed shock and sadness.

"Tragic, very tragic," said manager Trey Hillman.

Adenhart, 22, was killed in a hit-and-run crash in Fullerton, Calif., that took two other lives, early Thursday morning.

"Thankfully, I've never had to deal with something like that, but I can't imagine," said Mark Teahen, the Royals' player representative.

"I was just watching the news and it hit me pretty bad. I can't imagine it being even that much closer to him. To see a guy whose career is in front of him and he's finally realizing his dream, to have it taken away that quick -- to lose a young life any time is tough, but when you look at this and you realize that his life was just coming together for him, it's that much more difficult to hear about."

Adenhart had pitched six shutout innings in a start on Wednesday night against the Oakland A's, a game the Angels eventually lost, 6-4.

The death was sending shock waves around baseball.

"It's one big family in a way," Royals infielder Willie Bloomquist said, "and when something like that happens, everyone takes a step back from reality for a second and realizes that we're playing a game for a living and to focus on the important things. It's just really sad. You have a sick feeling in your stomach. ... Twenty-two years old, just a young kid."

The tragedy hit home, too, because Adenhart was just starting to make his way in the Majors.

"It's just more real because it's a guy who's in a similar situation playing the game he loves and in the spotlight," Teahen said. "It just puts everything in perspective and you realize that you've really got to enjoy the experiences here."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.