SAPPORO – Third baseman Brandon Laird will return to the United States after learning that a female relative has died in Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters announced on Tuesday.
The Fighters, who are near the bottom of the Pacific League standings, have games scheduled through next Monday, but manager Hideki Kuriyama instructed the California native to return home. He is scheduled to depart on Wednesday.
At least 59 people were killed and over 500 wounded by a gunman who opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday. The status of Laird’s relative was unclear until this morning, when it was learned that she had died.
Laird, in his third season with Nippon Ham, has 32 home runs and 90 RBIs. Last season, he led the PL in home runs (39) en route to the Fighters winning the Japan Series.