Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo Are Killed in Car Crash

The former major league players Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo died on Thursday in a car crash in Venezuela, where they were playing for a winter league team.

Their Venezuelan club, Cardenales de Lara, confirmed the deaths of Valbuena, 33, and Castillo, 37. Both played for the team on Thursday before the crash.

According to news media accounts from Venezuela, the crash occurred in Yaracuy. Reports indicated the car they were in hit a rock before going off the road. Carlos Rivero, a teammate of Valbuena and Castillo who was also in the car, survived.

All three players were born in Venezuela.

Valbuena was in the major leagues as recently as August, when he was released by the Los Angeles Angels. He hit .199 with a .253 on-base percentage, a .335 slugging percentage, nine homers and 33 R.B.I. in 96 games for Los Angeles this year.

Primarily a third baseman, Valbuena hit a career-high 25 homers for the Houston Astros in 2015. In an 11-year major league career, he batted .226 with a .310 on-base percentage, a .394 slugging percentage, 114 home runs and 367 R.B.I.

Valbuena broke into the major leagues with the Seattle Mariners in 2008. He subsequently played for the Cleveland Indians (2009-11), the Chicago Cubs (2012-14), the Astros (2015-16) and the Angels (2017-18).

Castillo played five years in the majors, for the Pittsburgh Pirates (2004-07), the San Francisco Giants (2008) and the Astros (2008). In 592 career games, he hit .254 with a .296 on-base percentage, a .379 slugging percentage, 39 homers and 218 R.B.I.

He played mostly second base and third base.

Rivero, 30, had a brief major league stint with the Boston Red Sox in 2014. He was in the minor leagues in the United States as recently as 2017, playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Class AAA Reno affiliate. He played this year for Tijuana in the Mexican League.

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