By Manuel Jimenez
SANTO DOMINGO (Reuters) - St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny on Monday called the death of Oscar Taveras, a top prospect killed in a car accident, "a horrible loss of a life."
Taveras, 22, was killed Sunday night along with Yamaly Arvelo, 18, while driving a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro on the tourist road Sosua-Puerto Plata on the north coast of Dominican Republic, police said.
Dominican authorities on Monday were investigating the circumstances of the crash. Taveras's remains were taken Monday to the Institute of Forensic Sciences in Santiago for an autopsy, local media reported.
A right fielder, Taveras was playing winter ball for Aguilas del Cibao in his native country.
"I was asked last night to give some words regarding the tragic death of Oscar Taveras, but I just simply couldn't," Matheny said in a statement.
"First of all, it felt like a bad dream that could not be real, and when reality kicked in, my words didn't even seem to make sense. To say this is a horrible loss of a life ended too soon would be an understatement."
Breaking into the major leagues this year, Taveras hit .239 with three homers and 28 RBIs in 80 games for the National League Central Division champions.
Just two weeks ago, Taveras blasted the game-tying homer as a pinch hitter in Game Two of the NLCS against the San Francisco Giants in a game the Cardinals eventually won, 5-4.
"In my opinion, the word "love" is the most misused, and misunderstood word in the English language," Matheny said. "It is not popular for men to use this word, and even less popular for athletes. But, there is not a more accurate word for how a group of men share a deep and genuine concern for each other.
"We loved Oscar, and he loved us. That is what a team does, that is what a family does. You will be missed, Oscar."
Family sources said a funeral was being planned in Taveras's home town of Sosua, 167 kilometers (103 miles) north of Santo Domingo.
(Reporting by Manuel Jimenez and Steve Ginsburg; Editing by Frank Pingue)