Ex-MLBers Luis Valbuena, Jose Castillo Die In Car Crash In Venezuela

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Free agent infielder Luis Valbuena and former major league infielder Jose Castillo died Thursday in a vehicle crash in Venezuela, where they were playing for a winter league team. Conflicting reports indicated the auto they were in either hit a rock or swerved to avoid a rock before going off the road.

The Cardenales de Lara, the team Valbuena and Castillo were playing for, called the accident a "horrible tragedy", in a statement.

Jose Castillo #14 of the Pittsburgh Pirates runs after hitting a solo homerun against the Houston Astros on August 14, 2005 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.

Valbuena played 11 seasons in the Major League Baseball, including his final two with the Los Angeles Angels, who released him in August.

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The newspaper cites media accounts as saying the person behind the wheel was the driver for former Arizona Diamondbacks player and winter ball teammate Carlos Rivero, 30.

Valbuena, 33, played 11 seasons in the majors, beginning his career in 2008 with the Seattle Mariners.

Valbuena received plenty of playing time during the final stages of the Cubs' rebuilding before he was traded with pitcher Dan Straily to the Astros for switch-hitter Dexter Fowler prior to the 2015 season.

He played mostly second base and third base. He left with a.226 batting average with 114 home runs and 367 career RBIs.

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