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Former Pirates minor leaguer Lincoln Holdzkom killed in car accident

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Former Pirates minor leaguer Lincoln Holdzkom has died in a car accident, the NZ Herald reports. Holdzkom, 33, played for the Altoona Curve in 2009. He was the older brother of current Pirate John Holdzkom.

Lincoln Holdzkom was driving in California when he collided with a guardrail. He died early Sunday morning.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Holdzkom family at this tragic time," said Baseball New Zealand chief executive Ryan Flynn, who is in the US for World Baseball Classic meetings.

"To have this happen anytime to such a vibrant and fantastic young man is just terrible, but a week before Christmas makes it so much harder for John and the Holdzkom family."

Holdzkom was drafted by the Marlins in 2004 and spent several years in their system before heading to the Cubs organization, followed by the Red Sox and Pirates. He also appeared with an independent team in Wichita in 2013. Like his brother, he had also played for New Zealand in international competition, even though he was born in California. The Herald notes that Lincoln was likely to serve as captain of New Zealand's pitching staff during qualifiers for the World Baseball Classic in February.