Tue, Oct 04, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Baseball player found dead in dormitory room

CAUSE UNKNOWN There were no signs of a struggle or a break-in at Mario Encarnacion's room, and a post-mortem examination did not find any external injuries

BY RICH CHANG  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Macoto Cobras' Mario Encarnacion, right, is congratulated by a teammate after hitting a home run in a Sept. 26 game in Taipei.

PHOTO: LO PEI-DER, TAIPEI TIMES

Professional baseball player Mario Encarnacion of the Dominican Republic was found dead yesterday morning in his dormitory. The cause of death is not yet known pending an autopsy, but investigators said his room had not been broken into and that a post-mortem examination found no signs of external injury.

Encarnacion played with the Chinese Professional Baseball League's (CPBL) Macoto Cobras.

At a press conference held yesterday afternoon, CPBL secretary-general Lee Wen-ping (李文彬) said, "Encarnacion failed to pass a steroids exam in May and he was suspended from playing games for two weeks."

Lee said Encarnacion explained to the league that he had taken weight-loss medicine which may have contained steroids. Encarnacion was worried that his weight was affecting his performance.

But Lee warned the media not to jump to conclusions.

"Before prosecutors finish an investigation, please do not suspect that his death was related to him taking medicines prohibited by the league," Lee said.

Investigators said an autopsy would be conducted in a few days to determine the cause of death.

A Cobras coach, Lu Ming-shih (呂明賜), told reporters the team believed Encarnacion's death might be related to gastroenteritis, which he had suffered from for a long time.

"Encarnacion had asked not to attend the team's routine training over the weekend because of his serious gastroenteritis," Lu said.

Lu said that Encarnacion did not appear yesterday morning when the team gathered in front of the dormitory in Tamsui (淡水), Taipei County, before leaving for routine training. Team officials checked his room and found him dead on the bed with the TV and air conditioner on, Lu said.

Encarnacion lived a simple life in Taiwan, according to Lu, and was not believed to have any drug or alcohol addiction.

"The team has lost a great player," Lu said.

Encarnacion, a 30-year-old right-handed central fielder from the Dominican Republic, had played for the Cobras since April. This season he hit 17 home runs, ranking number two in the league.

Encarnacion played for the US professional baseball team the Colorado Rockies in 2001, and for the Chicago Cubs in 2002.

He came to Taiwan earlier this year.

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