An osprey intentionally hit with a baseball by a minor-league pitcher during pre-game practice has died from its injuries, according to WKMG-TV.
‘Ozzy’ the osprey (WKMG-TV)
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has charged Jae-kuk Ryu with injuring the bird, which is recognized by the state as a species of special concern. The misdemeanor count includes a fine of up to $500 and 60 days in jail upon conviction.
Ryu will appear in Volusia County Court in Daytona Beach on a date to be set later.
As WorldNetDaily reported, the19-year-old South Korean, who throws a 96-mph fastball, was demoted from the Chicago Cubs organization to the Lansing Lugnuts in Michigan following the uproar over last week’s incident at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach.
Before a spring-training game against the Port St. Lucie Mets, Ryu took several tries to aim for and successfully knock an osprey from its nest.
The bird, known locally as Ozzy, had been nesting with its mate and chicks on a 40-foot light pole over left field, when it was struck.
“He laughed when he missed,” Chad Efron, a trainer with the Port St. Lucie Mets told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. “Then he acted like he was sorry when the bird was laying there.”
Pitcher Jae-kuk Ryu
“The kid feels awful,” Oneri Fleita of the Chicago Cubs front office told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. But Fleita says the organization felt it had no choice but to move Ryu down in the Cubs’ minor-league system.
The Daytona Cubs held a fund-raiser for the clinic treating the bird last Friday night.