Royals

Dominican authorities: Yordano Ventura toxicology report won’t be released to public

A photo of Yordano Ventura’s wrecked Jeep was shown on a computer screen at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the Dominican Republic.
A photo of Yordano Ventura’s wrecked Jeep was shown on a computer screen at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the Dominican Republic. jtoyoshiba@kcstar.com

Authorities in the Dominican Republic told The Star on Thursday that the toxicology report on Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura following his fatal car crash will only be released to his family and attorneys.

In the days following the Jan. 22 wreck, Royals officials said they were told toxicology results would be completed in about three weeks.

The results are an important piece in determining whether the Royals are obligated to pay the remainder of Ventura’s contract, which is valued at $20.25 million.

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported last month that Ventura’s contract with the Royals included a provision that could void payment for failure to perform because of injury or death from driving while intoxicated. If the Royals are required to pay the remainder of the contract, they would be insured for a portion of that amount.

On Thursday, Tessie Sanchez, a spokeswoman for the Dominican attorney general’s office, said the toxicology report is not a public document.

“Autopsies are performed by law to any person who has died violently,” Sanchez wrote in Spanish in a text message to a reporter with The Star. “But it (the report) is only given to the public ministry and to relatives.”

Toxicology results became public following an investigation into the 2014 death of Oscar Taveras, a St. Louis Cardinals prospect and friend of Ventura’s. Results from Taveras’ autopsy showed him to have a blood-alcohol level at least five times the country’s legal limit at the time of his crash near Puerto Plata on the northern coast of this Caribbean Island.

Ventura’s estate is likely to receive $450,000 in life insurance, a $1,050,000 accidental-death payment and other pension-related money through Major League Baseball’s standard benefits package, according to a source familiar with the situation.

But the larger amount by far is the balance on the five-year, $23 million contract extension Ventura signed with Kansas City before the 2015 season.

The Royals have previously declined comment on the specifics of the contract, other than to say that sorting out where the money goes could take several months.

Yordano Ventura in his own words: 'Proud to be on Kansas City's team' 

Provisions that limit certain off-field activities are common in baseball contracts and nearly universal in long-term deals, according to Steve Fehr, a former player agent who formerly worked as special counsel for the MLB Players Association.

In general, contracts are guaranteed through death or a deterioration of skills. But the deals often include exceptions that prohibit activities such as skiing, boating, motorcycle racing, whitewater rafting, piloting an airplane or other activities that could be considered hazardous.

Ventura, 25, completed his first full season in the majors in 2014, posting a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings while helping the club return to the World Series for the first time in 29 years.

The Star’s Rustin Dodd contributed to this report.

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