Rob­bery leaves two for­mer MLB play­ers dead

Toronto Star - - SPORTS - FABI­OLA SANCHEZ THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

CARACAS, VENEZUELA— 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.

Val­buena, 33, and Castillo, 37, died late Thurs­day when their SUV crashed as it tried to veer around an ob­ject placed in the road, Yaracuy state gover­nor 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 en route to Bar­quisimeto.

Third base­man Car­los Rivero was in the car and sur­vived, ac­cord­ing to web­site beis­bol­play.

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, who re­leased him on Aug. 7.

“I will miss Luis’ ban­ter, smile, gen­uine love for his team­mates, and, of course, the bat flips,” Astros man­ager A.J. Hinch said.

“He was a beloved per­son whether he was on our team or across the field.”

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

“Luis was al­ways smil­ing and was one of the hap­pi­est play­ers in base­ball,” said Astros gen­eral man­ager Jeff Luh­now.

“He pro­vided joy to his team­mates and our fans. He helped our fran­chise turn a cor­ner in 2015 and pro­vided many cher­ished me­mories.”

Jose Castillo, left, and Luis Val­buena were team­mates on the Car­de­nales de Lara team.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.