Former B-Met killed
Portobanco, who pitched parts of two seasons with the B-Mets, died on Friday when he crashed his car on the road between Leon and Managua in Nicaragua, where the 28-year-old was playing pro ball.
According to a translated story in El Nuevo Diario, one of the two major newspapers in Nicaragua, Portobanco crashed his white Toyota Corolla at about 2:40 a.m. on Saturday morning and died at the scene.
Portobanco had been scheduled to pitch for Boer of the Nicaraguan First Division the following day in a game against Matapalga. That game was canceled. El Nuevo Diario also reported that Portobanco planned to pitch professionally in Japan later this year.
Portobanco, who was a 36th-round draft pick by the Mets in 2000, pitched in 42 games in the 2005 and 2006 seasons with the B-Mets. In 2005, Portobanco appeared in 40 games and finished with a 2-12 record and a 7.56 ERA. He pitched two games in 2006 before being released by the Mets.
"I know he came back to area a few times after he stopped playing for the B-Mets," B-Mets general manager Scott Brown said. "He pitched in a lot of games in that reliever's role. He was a spirited guy, and certainly we send our condolences to his friends and family."