The Washington Times - June 13, 2009, 06:36PM

Outfielder Josh Willingham was placed on bereavement leave on Saturday after his brother Jon, 27, died in a car crash in Florence, Ala., early on Saturday morning.

Here is the story from The Times Daily, in Florence, about the crash. According to the report, Jon Willingham was trying to evade police when he crashed.


Bereavement leave runs between three and seven days. The Nationals called up Corey Patterson to replace Willingham, and moved reliever Terrell Young to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Patterson on the 40-man roster.

Manager Manny Acta addressed the team on Saturday to discuss the news — and to lend some perspective to it.

“It’s just the time to tell them, ‘Call your brother, call your sister, call your mom and dad. Make sure you tell them that you love them, that you appreciate them, because they can go fast,’” Acta said.

Outfielder Adam Dunn said he got a text message at 6:00 a.m. telling him the news, and talked to Willingham on Saturday.

“I think basically, you let him know we’re here for him,” Dunn said. “Whatever they need, don’t hesitate. And I think he knows that. I don’t want to bug him. They’ve got enough going on right now. But he knows if he needs anything, he can call.”

Team president Stan Kasten said the funeral is on Sunday, and there will be a team representative in attendance.

“Our hearts are breaking for him,” Kasten said. “Our whole organization is saddened and supportive of him in this horrible, horrible time. We’re thinking about him and his family and our hearts go out to all of them.”