Ex-MLBers Valbuena, Castillo die in vehicle crash

Lynette Rowe
December 7, 2018

Free agent infielder Luis Valbuena and former major league infielder Jose Castillo died Thursday in a auto crash in Venezuela, where they were playing for a winter league team.

Venezuelan newspapers El Emergente and Meridiano reported on the accident, with the Houston Chronicle's sportswriter Chandler Rome, confirming the news. Other tributes and statements also began to pour in on social media.

"We are saddened by the tragic news that Luis Valbuena and former major leaguer Jose Castillo have died in a vehicle accident", the organization tweeted.

They played for the same team in the Venezuelan winter league, and both played in Thursday night's game.

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According to multiple reports, their auto hit a rock in the road which sent them the vehicle out of control and ultimately led to their deaths. The driver, former major leaguer Carlos Rivero who played briefly with the Red Sox in 2004, survived the accident.

Castillo was 37-years-old. "Our thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones during this time of grief", the Angels said in a statement.

According to the Register, Valbuena spent 11 years in the majors, most recently with the Los Angeles Angels, who released him in August. He played with the Seattle Mariners, the Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Angels and the Houston Astros, according to Major League Baseball. He was a lifetime.226 hitter with 114 home runs and 367 RBIs. He split 2008 between the Giants and Astros, then finished his career by playing three professional seasons in Japan.

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