Baseball / MLB

Former MLB players Luis Valbuena, Jose Castillo die in Venezuela car crash


Former major league players Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo were killed in a car crash caused by highway bandits who then robbed them, officials said Friday.

The 33-year-old Valbuena and 37-year-old Castillo died late Thursday when their SUV crashed as it tried to veer around an object placed in the road, Yaracuy state Gov. Julio Leon Heredia said on his Twitter account.

He said four people have been detained after being found with property of the athletes.

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.

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, where he was a teammate of Shohei Ohtani. The team released Valbuena on Aug. 7.

Valbuena hit .226 with 114 home runs over 11 big league seasons with the Angels, Seattle, Cleveland, the Chicago Cubs and Houston.

Castillo played five seasons with Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Houston. He had a .254 average with 39 home runs.

The infielder spent the 2010 season with the Yokohama BayStars, batting .273 with 19 home runs and 55 RBIs, and 2011 with the Chiba Lotte Marines, where he hit .269 with 5 homers and 34 RBIs in 86 games.