NZ baseball club confirms player death

Daniel Gilhooly

New Zealand's Auckland Tuatara club has confirmed the sudden death of one of their star players days out from the start of the Australian National Baseball League (ANBL).

A Tuatara statement said American third baseman Ryan Costello was found dead on Monday morning in his room. Preliminary indications are that he died in his sleep of natural causes.

Costello hailed from the Minnesota Twins' minor league roster and was touted as being one of Auckland's big signings in the ANBL season, beginning on Thursday.

The 23-year-old was selected 31st in the 2017 Major League Baseball draft by the Seattle Mariners and had played since at minor league level with Minnesota.

"The Tuatara express their deepest condolences to Ryan's family back home in the United States and to the whole Minnesota Twins organisation," the Kiwi club said in a statement.

It said teammates at his new club were "naturally devastated" by the news.