Luis Valbuena, Jose Castillo die in car crash in Venezuela

Luis Valbuena
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FILE – In this May 25, 2017, file photo, Los Angeles Angels third baseman Luis Valbuena throws out Tampa Bay Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier on a sacrifice bunt during the fifth inning of a baseball game in St. Petersburg, Fla. Major League Baseball players Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo have been killed in a car crash in Venezuela. MLB tweeted late Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, the 33-year-old Valbuena and 37-year-old Castillo died. Both were playing for Cardenales de Lara in the Venezuelan league. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Former major league players Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo were killed in a car crash following a winter league game in Venezuela.

The 33-year-old Valbuena and 37-year-old Castillo died late Thursday, according to Cardenales de Lara of the Venezuelan league.

The team said their vehicle overturned as they were heading to the city of Barquisimeto after a game in the capital, Caracas.

Third baseman Carlos Rivero was in the car and survived, according to the website beisbolplay.

“I will miss Luis’ banter, smile, genuine love for his teammates, and, of course, the bat flips,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said in a statement. “He was a beloved person whether he was on our team or across the field.”

Valbuena hit .226 with 114 home runs over 11 big league seasons with the Angels, Seattle, Cleveland, the Chicago Cubs and Houston.

“Luis was always smiling and was one of the happiest players in baseball,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said in a statement. “He provided joy to his teammates and our fans. He helped our franchise turn a corner in 2015 and provided many cherished memories.”

Castillo played five seasons with Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Houston. He had a .254 average with 39 home runs.

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2018-12-07T16:38:19+00:00December 7th, 2018|

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