Luis Valbuena, a field player who played for the Los Angeles Angels in 2018, and former MLB field player Jose Castillo died Thursday night in a car accident in their country, Venezuela, their team of the Winter League confirmed.
According to El Emergente, the two men accompanied their team-mate Carlos Rivero in Valbuena's car from Caracas – where their Venezuelan team, Cardinales de Lara, had just played against Leones del Caracas – in Barquisimeto, where their team is based and where they had to go play Friday. The Orange County Register indicates that the car, driven by another man, struck a rock that would have been rolled on the road connecting Yaracuy to Barquisimeto during the last half of the journey, which lasted about four and a half hours. .
Rivero, who played four games with the Red Sox in 2014, has spent most of his baseball career, both overseas and overseas, and the pilot survived the accident. Valbuena and Castillo were ejected from the vehicle.
"A preliminary report from the authorities on the site assumes that the stone was thrown on the road, a common mode of committing highway robberies," reports Beisbol Play.
According to Reuters, in February, road flights rose in Venezuela, marking the fifth year of an economic crisis "worse than the Great Depression," according to the Associated Press. Reuters reports that eight people died during looting on highways, and that the ring road around Barquisimeto was dubbed "the guillotine" by truckers because of regular attacks.
The Angels and MLB both offered their condolences on Twitter.
Valbuena, 33, played 11 seasons in the majors with the Mariners, Indians, Cubs, Astros and Angels. He released her in August after playing 213 games in two seasons in Anaheim. His best season was with the Astros in 2016, when he set up a slash line of .260 / .357 / .459 and hit 13 homers, although it was limited to 90 games with a hamstring injury. Valbuena also hit 25 homers for the Astros in 2015 and 22 for the Angels in 2017.
Castillo, 37, played five seasons with the Pirates, Giants and Astros between 2004 and 2008.
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