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Royals prospects pay homage to Ventura

Trip to Dominican Republic part of Cultural Development Week
MLB.com @FlannyMLB

One by one, Royals prospects somberly approached and stood at the gravesite of Yordano Ventura.

No words were spoken.

One by one, Royals prospects somberly approached and stood at the gravesite of Yordano Ventura.

No words were spoken.

"No words to describe this moment," Royals director of baseball operations Alec Zumwalt tweeted at the scene.

Visiting the gravesite of Ventura, who died in an auto accident one year ago -- Jan. 22, 2017 -- in the Dominican Republic, was just one of many scheduled stops for a group of 17 Royals prospects during a recent visit to that country.

Tweet from @Alec_Zumwalt: No words to describe this moment. pic.twitter.com/VFckZH1sIp

The trip was part of the Royals' Cultural Development Week, now an annual excursion in its second official year.

Members of the baseball operations staff also attended, along with Royals Charities personnel.

Nick Pratto, MJ Melendez, Richard Lovelady, Khalil Lee, Michael Gigliotti and many other Royals prospects made their way through the Dominican, including a stop in Ventura's hometown of Las Terrenas.

The goal of the trip was to help Royals players connect with and better understand the diverse backgrounds of their teammates.

"It's designed to help American players learn about the Latin culture," Royals assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said. "It's really an eye-opener for the guys, especially the ones who have just signed and so forth."

During the week stay, the players sometimes worked out in the mornings before setting forth on their scheduled appearances.

Tweet from @mjmelendez7: So grateful to be a part of a @Royals group that got to shed light and continue Yordano Ventura���s dream of giving back to his hometown! God is so good! #BeTheLight pic.twitter.com/TQeXAyrwaD

One of the stops included conducting a baseball clinic for 75 local youth in Las Terrenas. Marisol Hernandez, Yordano's mother, was there, as well as other family members and friends of Ventura.

The players also visited the Casa Amor orphanage, supported by the Royals Dominican Academy and Royals Charities.

"Incredibly humbling experience to go to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic," tweeted prospect Chris DeVito. "Kids with so little with smiles so bright."

Royals Charities visited Ventura's hometown baseball field that received a special Royals Fields grant to improve the facility.

Tweet from @royalscharities: In memory of Yordano Ventura, @royalscharities traveled to the Dominican Republic to announce that @Royals fans��� donations to the #ACE30 Memorial Fund will support improvements to Yordano���s childhood field in Las Terrenas. pic.twitter.com/mYPdOjPKv5

"We're committed now to doing this trip every year," Picollo said. "We'll have different players every year go.

"Last year, Yordano was with our players, just a week or so before the accident. It was such a thrill for them to hang around with Yordano, a very special moment."

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.

Kansas City Royals