Former Pirates infielder Jose Castillo killed in vehicle crash in Venezuela

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Luis Castillo

Former Major League Baseball infielders Luis Valbuena and José Castillo have been killed in a auto crash in Venezuela after playing in the country's winter league, their team said.

The Cardenales de Lara, of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League, made the announcement overnight. At some point after the game, they were both passengers in a vehicle driven by teammate Carlos Rivero when the auto hit a rock and veered off the road.

Valbuena, an 11-year major league veteran, hit.199 with nine homers and 33 RBIs in 96 games this year for the Los Angeles Angels, who released him on August 7.

Luis Valbuena
Luis Valbuena

Castillo, 37, debuted in the majors in 2004 and played four seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants and Houston Astros. The chauffeur and infielder Carlos Rivero, a teammate of Valbuena and Castillo who was also in the auto, survived. "Our thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones during this time of grief", the Angels said in a statement. He hit nine home runs and drove in 33 runs for the Halos in 96 games in 2018.

Valbuena played 11 seasons in the majors with multiple teams that included the Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros and the Angels.

Rivero, 30, had a brief major league stint with the Boston Red Sox in 2014. He was a lifetime.226 hitter with 114 home runs and 367 RBIs.

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