Former Los Angeles Angels infielder Luis Valbuena and former Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jose Castillo died in a car crash Thursday in Venezuela, according to multiple media outlets. Valbuena was 33. Castillo was 37.
Venezuelan newspapers El Emergente and Meridiano reported on the accident, with the Houston Chronicle's sportswriter Chandler Rome, confirming the news. Major League Baseball also confirmed the news in a statement on social media.
"We are saddened by the tragic news that Luis Valbuena and former major leaguer Jose Castillo have died in a car accident," the organization tweeted.
We are saddened by the tragic news that Luis Valbuena and former major leaguer José Castillo have died in a car accident. pic.twitter.com/C3nILO00SE— MLB (@MLB) December 7, 2018
The Orange County Register verified the report and reported that their car hit a rock and went off the road after they were traveling after a game. Carlos Rivero, who briefly played for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2014, was driving the car and survived the incident.
The Angels also made a statement: "We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former Angel Luis Valbuena and former MLB infielder José Castillo. Our thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones during this time of grief."
We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former Angel Luis Valbuena and former MLB infielder José Castillo. Our thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones during this time of grief. pic.twitter.com/GxegOtJXuB— Angels (@Angels) December 7, 2018
Valbuena played 11 seasons in the major leagues, starting in 2008 with the Seattle Mariners. He also played for the Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros and the Angels until the Angels released him in August 2018. He left with a .226 batting average with 114 home runs and 367 career RBIs.
Castillo played five season in the majors, from 2004 to 2008. He began his career in Pittsburgh, then moved onto the San Fransisco Giants before ending with he Astros. He recorded a .254 batting average, 39 homes runs and 218 career RBIs.0comments
The Chicago Cubs said, "We are saddened by the passing of former Cub Luis Valbuena. The Cubs organization sends its condolences to his family and friends."
The Mariners also lamented the loss. "We send our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of former Mariner Luis Valbuena. He played the game with passion and he will be missed," the organization said.