Free agent Luis Valbuena, former MLB player Jose Castillo died in car accident in Venezuela
The Major League Baseball family lost two members to a car crash Friday morning. The league announced that free agent infielder Luis Valbuena and former player Jose Castillo died in a car accident:
The two Venezuelans were playing winter ball in their native country and took part in a game Thursday night. More details, via the OC Register:
The accident reportedly occurred when their car collided with a rock that rolled on to the road in the state of Yarucuy, in Valbuena’s native Venezuela.
According to reports, the car was being driven by the driver for former Arizona Diamondbacks player and winter ball teammate Carlos Rivero, both of whom survived.
Castillo played in parts of five seasons in the majors from 2004-08. He spent the overwhelming majority of that time with the Pirates. In 592 career games, he hit .256/.297/.380 with 103 doubles, 39 homers and 13 steals. Since 2008, he’s bounced around between the Mexican League, Venezuelan Winter League and a stint in Japan.
Valbuena just finished a two-year deal with the Angels. He played all over the infield through his career, starting more up the middle and finishing as a corner guy. In 1,011 career games, he hit .226/.310/.394 with 169 doubles and 14 home runs. He’ll be remembered for being a popular teammate and fun player to watch, especially when he had his power stroke going.
Valbuena was 33. Castillo was 37.