Former Major League Baseball infielders Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo died in a vehicle accident Thursday in Venezuela, The Orange County Register reported. "We lost our players Luis Valbuena and José Castillo in a traffic accident", the Venezuelan club tweeted.
Castillo played from 2004 to 2008 in the majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants and Astros.
Both were playing for Cardenales de Lara in the Venezuelan league.
Valbuena and Castillo's deaths drew reactions from people that knew them best - fellow Major League Baseball players and the people who covered them.
"This is a very sad day for our sport as we mourn the deaths of Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo", commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. He recorded a.254 batting average, 39 homes runs and 218 career RBIs.
"I will miss Luis's banter, smile, genuine love for his teammates, and, of course, the bat flips", Astros manager AJ Hinch said in a statement. He also had stints with the Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros.
Primarily a third baseman who also saw action at the other three infield positions, Valbuena hit a career-high 25 homers for the Houston Astros in 2015. Off the field, he was a warm and friendly presence to all who interacted with him. "Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends".
Luis Valbuena, the swing-for-the-fence infielder who did that the past four seasons against the Texas Rangers, was killed late Thursday in a vehicle wreck in Venezuela.