Former Astros players Luis Valbuena, Jose Castillo killed in vehicle crash

Valbuena-Castillo

Valbuena-Castillo

Cardenales de Lara, the Venezuelan league team which Valbuena was now playing for, confirmed early Friday that he along with teammate Jose Castillo were killed in an automobile accident in Caracas.

Conflicting reports indicated the auto they were in either hit a rock or swerved to avoid a rock before going off the road.

The crash occurred after Valbuena and Castillo left the University Stadium at Caracas after playing a game in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League.

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The Cubs paid tribute to the late 33-year old on Twitter soon after the news was announced. "We lost our players Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo in a traffic accident".

Cardenales de Lara third baseman and former major league player Carlos Rivero was also on the vehicle and survived the crash. "Our thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones during this time of grief", the Angels said in a statement.

Valbuena played 11 seasons in the majors, beginning his career in 2008 with the Seattle Mariners. As he helped the Cubs to a World Series championship as an anchor in center field and at the top of the lineup, Valbuena played the next two seasons in Houston then two with the Angels. In 592 career games, he hit.254 with a.296 on-base percentage, a.379 slugging percentage, 39 homers and 218 RBIs. He collected four hits in seven at-bats (.571 average) while hitting a home run and driving in three runs.

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