Relief pitcher Greg Holland could have been excused for not going to the Dominican Republic for Yordano Ventura’s funeral.
After all, Holland’s contract with the Royals expired after the 2015 World Series and he was nearing a deal with the Colorado Rockies. And, as USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported, Holland had a lengthy trip to get to the Dominican Republic after Ventura died in a car accident.
But, as Holland told Nightengale, there was no doubt he was going to attend the service.
“It was such a whirlwind, but I had to be there,” Holland told USA Today. “It’s so tough, so unexpected. You don’t know how you’re going to react to something like that. It’s hard to describe that feeling, such a young kid with so much talent. I don’t think enough is being said about the character and makeup of him.
“I can’t imagine what his mom and family are going through. ... I just can’t imagine.”
Holland joined Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar and another former Royal Jarrod Dyson for the services.
The following day, Holland agreed to the deal with the Rockies. He told MLB.com that he thinks Colorado could go on a run like the Royals.
“No one really cared if anyone (outside) knew, because everyone in the clubhouse knew we were a good team, and after we got close (to a playoff spot) in ’13, that left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth,” Holland told Thomas Harding last week. “I think it’s very similar here — a young team, very talented roster, guys learning how to become big leaguers and the day-to-day activity and how that can help us in September.
“It’s a tight-knit group. A lot of them have been out here for two or three months. That tells you enough right there. These guys are committed to winning and enjoy each other’s company and enjoy competition. In the little things, you can see work ethic.”