The 24-year-old pitcher was playing for the Montgomery Biscuits, a Double-A team affiliated with the Rays. Bivens was told by the team to return home from a game in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but wasn't sure why until he looked at his mobile device.

Tampa Bay Rays minor league pitcher Blake Bivens said he discovered his family had been killed over Facebook while he was reading in the airport.

Bivens' wife, Emily, 14-month child Cullen, and mother-in-law Joan Bernard were killed in Keeling, Virginia last August. Police arrested his brother-in-law, Matthew Bernard, charging him with three counts of first-degree homicide.

"First headline I see is two females and a small child were gone," Bivens said Sunday during a taped service at The River Church in Danville, Va. "I immediately knew that was them. I found out my family was gone over a Facebook headline. I just immediately began to scream in the middle of the airport.''

The 24-year-old pitcher was playing for the Montgomery Biscuits, a Double-A team affiliated with the Rays. Bivens was told by the team to return home from a game in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but wasn't sure why until he looked at his mobile device.

Bivens was telling his story to explain how he's leaned on his faith during heartbreak.

"I think the hardest moment for me was when I got home and I walked in my son's bedroom for the first time and realized I was never going to see him on this Earth again,'' he said. "That was the worst moment in my life. Nothing ever will come to being, to feeling the way I felt at that moment. Then again, I know I will see him again one day, and it won't be long.

"When I read (John 16:33), 'Take heart, for I have overcome the world,' it changed, it completely flipped a switch in my heart. And from that moment on I knew that this was not going to beat me, this was not going to beat family. I was going to live in victory the rest of my life, and I was going to use this as a testimony to show what he has done for me he can also do for others."

Bivens spent the rest of the 2019 campaign off recovering, and made a trip with his father to Tropicana Field in September to see his Rays teammates. He reported to spring training in March before baseball shut down due to COVID-19.