Pirates prospect Oneil Cruz reports to winter ball months after being involved in deadly crash

PITTSBURGH — After Ben Cherington signaled earlier in the week that he was optimistic Oneil Cruz would play winter ball, the Gigantes del Cibao announced that Cruz was present in their training session Saturday.

This is a very encouraging sign for Cruz’s future in baseball, and for him to report to spring training in 2021, like Cherington believes.

Cruz was in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in September that killed three on a motorcycle. While there were initial reports that he was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, he faced no such charges at the hearing.

Cherington and the Pirates have stood by Cruz during the legal process.

“There’s not a single piece of evidence from what we’ve seen is that this is anything but an accident,” Cherington said shortly after the regular season ended in September.

The Gigantes started playing games earlier this week. Cruz is currently ranked as the Pirates' third-best prospect and 53rd overall, per Baseball America.

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