M's Halman stabbed to death in Netherlands

ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands — The baseball world is in mourning following the murder of Dutch-born Seattle Mariners outfielder Greg Halman, who was stabbed to death early Monday in The Netherlands.

The 24-year-old's younger brother, Jason, was arrested in connection with the incident, which occurred in the western city of Rotterdam, according to Dutch news website parool.com.

"Just after 5:30am (local time) police received a report of a stabbing in a house," Rotterdam police said in a statement.

"Once there, police found a badly injured victim. They tried, along with ambulance staff, to resuscitate the victim, but were not able to. A suspect in the house was arrested. He was taken to the police station for questioning."

Halman was scouted by the Mariners in 2004 after making his debut at age 16 with Corendon Kinheim, a professional team in his home country, a year earlier. He spent seven seasons in the Mariners' minor league system, and played in 44 games for the Mariners over the last two seasons.

Halman had taken part in baseball camps in his home country two weeks ago as part of the European Big League Tour, which also included MLB stars Prince Fielder and Adam Jones.

"We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of Greg Halman," the Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Michael Weiner said in a statement.

"Greg was passionate about the game of baseball and generously gave of himself to share his passion with others in an attempt to help grow the sport's popularity across Europe. He will be sorely missed. ... Our thoughts and prayers go out to Greg's family, his teammates, the Mariners organization and his many friends and fans throughout Europe and America.

"Having played for the Netherlands in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, and having participated in the recent 2011 European Big League Tour, Greg's lasting legacy is sure to be the trail he helped blaze for European youth to follow in his footsteps."

Halman's teammates expressed their shock Monday, including infielder Adam Kennedy, a free agent who played with Halman in Seattle last season.

"A lot of us older guys got to know him real well because he was one of those younger guys who was eager to listen and eager to learn," said Kennedy. "I don't know whether they're shy about it or what, but he was just one of the guys. He seemed happy all the time and was just a fun guy to be around. This is just devastating news."

The speedy center fielder batted .230 with two home runs and six RBIs in 35 games last season from May to August with the Mariners. He also played at Triple-A Tacoma the past two seasons, hitting .299 in 2011.

Halman was named Seattle's Minor League Player of the Year in 2008 when he combined for 29 home runs, 83 RBIs and 31 stolen bases at Single-A and Double-A.

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