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Valbuena, most recently with the Astros, and former Pirates second baseman Jose Castillo were teammates on the Venezuelan winter baseball club Cardinales de Lara.

By Emily Caron
December 07, 2018

Former Angels infielder Luis Valbuena and former Pirates second baseman José Castillo were killed in a car accident in Venezuela after playing in the country’s winter league, the MLB announced early Friday morning.

"We are saddened by the tragic news that Luis Valbuena and former major leaguer José Castillo have died in a car accident," Major League Baseball said in a tweet.

Valbuena, 33, and 37-year-old Castillo were teammates on the Venezuelan winter ball club Cardinales de Lara.

"We are living a horrible tragedy in Cardenales de Lara," Cardinales de Lara said in a statement after confirming the tragic passing. 

The car carrying Valbuena and Castillo reportedly collided with a rock that slid onto the road as they were traveling in Caracas after a game, per the Venezuelan baseball website BeisbolPlay.

Venezuelan authorities said the car went to the opposite side of the road while trying to avoid the sliding rock.

"We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former Angel Luis Valbuena and former MLB infielder José Castillo," the Angels wrote on Twitter. "Our thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones during this time of grief."

Valbuena played 11 seasons in the majors, beginning his career in 2008 with the Seattle Mariners. He last played for the Angels in 2018 but was released in August. Valbuena also spent time with the Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros along the way.

He finished his career with a .226 batting average with 114 home runs and 367 RBIs.

Castillo played five seasons in the majors from 2004 to 2008, starting with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He later played for the San Francisco Giants before finishing with the Astros, recording a career .254 batting average with 39 home runs and 218 RBIs.

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