Perez, who spent four years with the Atlanta Braves in the 1980s and last played in the majors for the New York Yankees in 1991, was found with a severe head wound in a town west of the capital, Santo Domingo, and there was evidence at the scene to suggest that whoever killed him had been searching for money, said Joel Valdemiro, a prosecutor who is involved in the investigation.
No one was in custody and authorities did not reveal whether they had any suspects. Police said there were several assailants and that the house in the town of San Gregrorio de Nigua appeared to have been ransacked.
“It’s an act of criminality, unfortunately,” Valdemiro said, adding that there is evidence the killing might have been premeditated.
Perez’s brother Carlos, a former pitcher for the Montreal Expos and Los Angeles Dodgers, confirmed his death.
Perez’s ex-wife, Maritza Montero, found his body about 8:30 a.m. Thursday and investigators said he appeared to have been slain about eight hours earlier.
The precise cause of death has not been determined but officials said Perez, who had suffered severe kidney problems in recent years, had a fractured skull from a blow to the head.
Melido Perez, mayor of San Gregorio de Nigua and a right-hander with nine professional seasons, including four with the Yankees, mourned his brother’s death.
“It is horrible what is happening in this country,” he said. “You’re not even safe at home.”
Perez, 55, played 11 seasons of in the majors and compiled a lifetime record of 67-68 with the Braves, Pirates, Expos and Yankees. But he was in and out of trouble for much of his career, though he was named to the National League All-Star team in 1983.
“We were shocked to hear the news of Pascual Perez’ death earlier (Thursday),” said Braves president John Schuerholz in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during the aftermath of this tragic event. Pascual left his mark with the Braves organization and will always be remembered fondly by Braves fans.”
Perez pitched for Atlanta from 1982-85. He was 15-8 in 1983 and 14-8 in 1984.
The right-hander was first signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in January 1976 as an amateur free agent, and his career went on to be a rocky one.
In 1982, Perez helped Atlanta win the National League West title with a 4-4 record. But in August of that season he missed a start because, as he later explained, he missed a highway exit sign on the circular Interstate 285 and spent almost two hours circling Atlanta.
While playing for the Braves, he was suspended in April 1984 following his arrest in January of that year in the Dominican Republic on charges of cocaine possession.
He spent two months in drug rehabilitation in 1989 while with the Expos, after failing to complete rehab programs twice before, and avoided a suspension only by agreeing to accept a minimum one-year suspension if he tested positive for cocaine again.
In March 1992, the commissioner’s office suspended him after a failed test the day he arrived for spring training with the Yankees. At the time, he was entering the final season of a three-year, $5.7 million contract. He never returned to major league baseball.