For­mer Cub dies in crash in Venezuela

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS -

CARACAS, Venezuela — For­mer ma­jor­league 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, who played for the Cubs in 2012-14, and 37-year-old Castillo died late Thurs­day when their SUV crashed as it tried to veer around an ob­ject put in the road, Yaracuy state Gov. Julio Leon Here­dia said on his Twit­ter ac­count.

Here­dia said four peo­ple were de­tained af­ter be­ing found with prop­erty that be­longed to 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 Caracas when the crash oc­curred en route to the city of Bar­quisimeto.

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

Val­buena, an 11-year ma­jor-league vet­eran, hit .232 with 32 home runs and 116 RBI in his three sea­sons with the Cubs. Over­all, he hit .226 with 114 homers and 367 RBI with five teams. Castillo had a .254 av­er­age and hit 39 homers in five sea­sons with three teams.

The Venezue­lan Pro­fes­sional Base­ball League an­nounced all three sched­uled games Fri­day were can­celed and said flags will fly at half-staff in all sta­di­ums for three days.

GETTY IM­AGES

Luis Val­buena hit .232 with 32 home runs in three sea­sons with the Cubs (2012-14).

Jose Castillo

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