We are saddened by the tragic news that Luis Valbuena and former major leaguer José Castillo have died in a car accident.
Valbuena and Castillo were teammates on the Cardenales de Lara team in the Venezuelan winter league and were returning from a game in the capital when the crash occurred en route to the city of Barquisimeto.
#7Dic ATENCIÓN: Cardenales de Lara: Estamos viviendo una horrible tragedia en Cardenales de Lara. Perdimos a nuestros jugadores Luis Valbuena y José Castillo en un accidente de tránsito. Paz a sus almas.
Former Major League Baseball players Luis Valbuena and José Castillo were killed in a car crash on Thursday
Heartbroken to hear about Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo. My condolences to their families as they deal with this tragedy. Valbuena was an amazing teammate and friend and will be sincerely missed. RIP
(Photo by Kevin Sullivan/Orange County Register/SCNG) Los Angeles Angels third baseman Luis Valbuena reacts after San Francisco Giants’ Brandon Belt flew out during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, April 22, 2018.
Valbuena hit .226 with 114 home runs over 11 big league seasons with the Angels, Seattle, Cleveland, the Chicago Cubs and Houston.
"It is clear by all the stories today that they loved baseball and made an impact on their teammates and the Clubs they represented," he said, expressing "my deepest condolences to their families, friends and fans, particularly those in their native Venezuela."
He moved on to play for teams in Taiwan and Japan.
Caracas Baseball Club se une al duelo que embarga a la familia de la Liga Venezolana de Beisbol Profesional por la sensible pérdida de dos de nuestros jugadores. Luis Valbuena y José Castillo. Paz a sus almas. Nuestras condolencias a sus familiares.
Gustavo Andrade, a team official, said that the accident was caused by a rock on the highway, possibly placed by someone trying to force cars to stop, according to The Associated Press.
1. #7Dic Los grandeligas venezolanos Luis Valbuena y José El Hacha Castillo, de Cardenales de Lara, fueron asesinados esta madrugada cuando regresaban a Barquisimeto después de culminar el juego contra Leones del Caracas.
“I will miss Luis’s banter, smile, genuine love for his teammates, and, of course, his bat flips,” said Astros Manager A.J. Hinch.
(AP Photo/Chris Carlson) Los Angeles Angels’ Luis Valbuena, right, tosses his bat after hitting a solo home run while Houston Astros catcher Brian McCann watches during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) Angels third baseman Luis Valbuena turns as he tries to throw out the runner in the sixth inning against Cleveland in Anaheim on Thursday, September 21, 2017.
"Luis was always smiling and was one of the happiest players in baseball," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said in a statement.
Luto en el béisbol de #Venezuela Los jugadores Luis Valbuena y José Castillo fallecieron en un accidente de tránsito en el estado #Yaracuy Ambos, con experiencia en las #GrandesLigas, militaban con el equipo #Cardenales de #Lara de la @lvbp_oficial La noticia ha sido reseña…
Former LA Angels infielder Luis Valbuena was killed in a car accident with former Pirates 2B Jose Castillo.
We are so very deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Astros players Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones.
(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) Los Angeles Angels’ Luis Valbuena looks skyward as he crosses home plate after a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Tuesday, May 29, 2018, in Detroit.
Lamentable y triste noticia. Luis Valbuena y José Castillo han fallecido en un accidente de tránsito en Yaracuy. Nuestras más sinceras condolencias a los familiares. Descansen en paz. 🙏
Con mucho pesar anunciamos el fallecimiento de Luis Valbuena y José Castillo. En Paz descansen. 🙏