Former Yankee outfielder Oscar Azocar dies

Former major leaguer Oscar Azocar, a free-swinging outfielder

when he debuted for the New York Yankees in 1990, died Monday. He

was 45.

The native Venezuelan died at a hospital in Valencia, said

Diogenes Nazar, press spokesman for one of Azocar’s former teams,

the Navegantes del Magallanes.

Azocar hit .226 with five home runs and 36 RBIs in a three-year

career. Promoted from the minors by the Yankees in July 1990, he

got a pinch-hit single in his first big league at-bat, then

homered, doubled and singled in his next game.

Azocar was hitting .350 with four home runs after his first 20

games, and was part of the last-place Yankees’ youth movement,

along with fellow rookies Deion Sanders, Jim Leyritz, Mike Blowers

and Kevin Maas.

But the Yankees grew impatient over Azocar’s impatience at the

plate — it took 130 times up before he drew his first walk.

The Yankees traded him to San Diego after his rookie season and he

spent two years with San Diego.

Azocar finished up in the Mexican league, playing his last

season in 2001.

Azocar started his career as a pitcher before switching to the

outfield. He played for several teams in Venezuela.

During the Caribbean Series played in Venezuela last February,

Azocar was inducted into the Caribbean region’s baseball hall of

fame.