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Fernandez friend Diaz hits grand slam

USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale looks back at the tragic death of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez.

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz, grieving with his best friend’s family Monday in Miami, didn’t feel like getting back on that plane to St. Louis.

He was saying goodbye to Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who was killed Sunday in a boating accident. It was like his own brother was dead. They grew up together, and were inseparable, living just three houses apart on Eight Street in Santa Clara, Cuba.

Now, after visiting Fernandez’s mother and grandmother, and leaving the house for the final time, it felt as if he was leaving part of his soul behind.

Still, he knew he had a job to do. He had another family counting on him. The Cardinals are in the National League wild-card race. He needed to be with his teammates.

Fernandez wouldn’t want it any other way.

Diaz arrived to Busch Stadium on Tuesday, brought along Fernandez’s jersey, hung the Fernandez jersey that teammate Yadier Molina provided,…

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