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Former Pirate Jose Castillo and Astro Luis Valbuena killed in a car crash in Venezuela

Marcos Grunfeld of Univision Sports reported on Twitter the deaths of Jose Castillo and Luis Valbuena.

I verified this with an article from the Venezuelan newspaper Meridiano.

Both players were member of the Cardenales team in the Venezuelan Winter League. According to the article, Castillo and Valbuena were passengers in a vehicle driven by third baseman Carlos Rivero, who survived, as they were returning from their game Thursday night. It’s reported he swerved to avoid a rock in the road, a tactic frequently employed by bandits. Castillo and Valbuena were thrown from the vehicle and died instantly.

Castillo was 37. He played four seasons as the starting second baseman of the Pirates from 2004 to 2007, hitting a cumultive 256/297/380, then split his last year in the majors, 2008, between San Francisco and Houston.

Valbuena was 33. The infielder came to MLB in 2008 with Seattle and had also played for the Indians, Cubs, Astros and then the Angels in 2018. He was a career 226/310/394 hitter in the majors.