Jose Lima lived over the top on and off the baseball field. The free-spirited pitcher could deliver a song as well as a fastball, leaving a trail of fun and laughter known as "Lima Time" wherever he went.
The All-Star right-hander who spent 13 years in the major leagues died Sunday, according to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was 37.
Lima, who pitched the Dodgers to their first playoff win in 16 years in 2004, was in full cardiac arrest when paramedics arrived at his Pasadena, Calif., home early Sunday morning, police said in a statement.
He was pronounced dead at Huntington Memorial Hospital.
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The specific cause of death has not been determined, and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials will perform an autopsy, the statement said. Pasadena police detectives also are investigating.
“Lima was an exceptional man,” said Winston Llenas, president of Aguilas Cibaenas, a winter ball team that Lima had played for in the Dominican Republic. “This is a great loss for Dominican baseball and the country.”
Lima posted his best season with the Houston Astros in 1999 when he was selected to the All-Star Game. He went 21-10 with a 3.58 ERA in 35 starts for the NL Central champions.
“It saddened me greatly to hear of Jose’s passing,” Astros owner Drayton McLane said. “He was truly a gifted person both on the field and off of it. He could dance, he could sing, but his best gift of all was that he was an extremely happy person. He just lit up our clubhouse with his personality, which was his greatest asset. Jose was not shortchanged in life in any way. He lived life to the fullest every day.”
Lima spent the majority of his career in Houston, compiling a 46-42 record from 1997-2001.
The Nationals called up Justin Maxwell from Triple-A Syracuse to take the roster spot of left-hander Scott Olsen. ... Braves outfielder Jason Heyward was scratched from the lineup about an hour before game time in Pittsburgh because of a sore left thumb. ... Third baseman Aramis Ramirez was out of the Chicago Cubs’ lineup again because of recurring soreness between his left thumb and index finger. ... Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Tony Abreu left Sunday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays because of a sprained left wrist. ... Ryota Igarashi is back in the New York Mets’ bullpen — and Jenrry Mejia is staying there, too. New York optioned right-hander Manny Acosta to Triple-A Buffalo when Igarashi was activated from the 15-day disabled list, keeping the 20-year-old Mejia in a big league relief role. ... Minnesota Twins center fielder Denard Span left the game against the Milwaukee Brewers in the sixth inning with a bruised right shoulder.