Baltimore Orioles pitcher and Medford native Steve Bechler died Monday after collapsing at spring training.
Bechler’s temperature was 108 degrees, said William Goldiner, the Orioles team physician in a news conference. He died of “multi-organ failure due to heatstroke. He would rebound at times. They thought they were getting ahead of it, and then another organ system would fail,” Goldiner said.
According to the National Weather Service, the temperature in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was 81 degrees and the humidity was 74 percent.
The 23-year-old prospect played for the Medford American Mustang Legion team in 1997 and was drafted by the Orioles in 1998 in the third round. He played in his first major-league game last September, going 0-0 with a 13.50 ERA, and was expected to start the season with the clubs Triple-A affiliate in Ottawa.
Bechler was reportedly taking ephedrine, an amphetamine-like substance linked to heatstroke and heart attacks, Goldiner said.
Bechler leaves behind a wife, 23, who is expecting their first child in April.