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Former Padres shortstop Hernandez dead at 63

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SAN DIEGO -- Former Padres shortstop Enzo Hernandez died Sunday in an apparent suicide, according to Venezuelan media reports.

Hernandez, 63, was found dead in his home of El Tigre, which is located about 210 miles southeast of Caracas, according to the newspaper Sunday Leader.

According to the report, spokesmen for the El Tigre municipal police confirmed Hernandez's death but declined to provide details on the cause.

Hernandez played seven seasons with the Padres (1971-77) after being obtained from the Orioles on Dec. 1, 1970, and finished his big league career with the Dodgers in 1978.

Hernandez, a career .224 hitter, had a career-best 122 hits his rookie season in 1971. He also led the National League in errors (33) that season.

According to Baseball-Reference.com, Hernandez qualified last in batting average (.222), home runs (zero) and RBIs (12) among all National League players his first season.

Hernandez stole 129 bases in his career, including a career-high 37 steals during the 1974 season. But his best work came in the field, as Hernandez was regarded as a strong defensive shortstop.

"He was solid-as-a-rock in the infield," said 1976 Cy Young Award winner Randy Jones, a teammate of Hernandez's from 1973-77. "He had pretty good speed, scored a few key runs for us. But he was a solid, good-range shortstop who was a lot of fun to play with."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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