November 13, 2009 - American Association (AA) - Lincoln Saltdogs
LINCOLN, NE - The Lincoln Saltdogs are saddened to announce the death of pitcher Jonathan Figueroa, who passed away on Sunday, November 8th due to complications from Lupus disease. Figueroa, who enjoyed an eight-year professional baseball career, is survived by his wife, Katitiana, a five-year-old son, Victor, and a one-year-old daughter, Victoria.
"This is a tremendous loss on any number of levels," said Saltdogs manager Tim Utrup. "Jonathan was well-liked by everybody in the organization. Our hearts go out to his family right now. He was so young, and it's heartbreaking to think about two young children losing their father this early in their lives."
Figueroa, who turned 26 years old in September, joined the Saltdogs in August of 2008 and pitched in three games over the final 11 days of the season. He started the 2009 season as a member of the starting rotation, and made the start in 12 of his 13 appearances, going 3-4 with a 3.45 ERA. Jonathan was named the American Association Pitcher of the Week for June 1-7, making two starts and pitching a combined 12 innings without allowing a single run. Figueroa made his last start on July 11, earning no decision in a home outing against Sioux Falls. He went on the disabled list the next day, and finished the season on the inactive list. On October 23, the Saltdogs announced that they had exercised the 2010 option on Figueroa's contract. Overall, Figueroa went 3-5 with a 3.78 ERA in 16 appearances for Lincoln, including 13 starts.
"I was shocked when I heard the news," said Saltdogs manager Marty Scott. "I remember how hard Jonathan worked to improve his performance on the mound, after he got off to a rough start this past season. He really turned into an asset for us before we had to place him on the disabled list. He was a great guy to have in the clubhouse and in the dugout, and he really connected with his teammates. We'll all miss him, and I can't even begin to imagine how tragic this must be for his wife and children."
Figueroa began his career in 2002 with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, after being signed as an undrafted free agent. He stayed in the Dodgers' farm system through the 2007 season, and then signed with Long Beach of the Golden League in 2008. Lincoln acquired him from Long Beach in August of that season. Jonathan appeared in 136 games over his eight-year career, making 93 starts. He posted a 25-35 career record in the minor leagues, with two saves and a 4.83 career ERA.