Brother of Bucs reliever dies in car crash

Holdzkom pitched for New Zealand national team and 8 seasons in Minors

Brother of Bucs reliever dies in car crash

PITTSBURGH -- Lincoln Holdzkom, the older brother of Pirates reliever John Holdzkom and a former Bucs Minor Leaguer, was killed in a car crash in California on Sunday, according to the New Zealand Herald. He was 33.

Holdzkom spent eight seasons pitching in the Minor Leagues for the Marlins, Cubs, Red Sox and Pirates, most recently appearing in 14 games for Double-A Altoona in 2009. He also pitched for New Zealand in 2012 in the country's attempt to qualify for the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Baseball New Zealand chief executive Ryan Flynn told the Herald the organization is "devastated by the loss" of Holdzkom.

"The only thing we're doing now is showing support to John and the whole family," Flynn told the Herald. "We thought he would have a long career with us as a player, coach and a leader and so this is as big of a loss that we could have have in our program."

According to the Herald's report, the California Highway Patrol said Holdzkom was driving on the 57 Freeway when he veered off the road and collided with a guard rail.

A native of Pasadena, Calif., Holdzkom was able to pitch for the New Zealand Diamondblacks national baseball team because his father is a native of the country. According to the Herald, Holdzkom was set to participate in the club's World Baseball Classic qualifier in February.

"Lincoln was going to be the captain of our pitching staff. We talked to him on Friday, he's our anchor, he's the guy," Flynn told the Herald. "It's just caught us completely out of the blue."

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.