Former Cub Luis Valbuena killed in Venezuela car crash along with former MLB player Jose Castillo

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Luis Valbuena (former Cub) and Jose Castillo (MBL Twitter)

Former Major League Baseball infielders Luis Valbuena and José Castillo were killed in a car crash Thursday in Venezuela after playing in the country’s winter league, their team said.

“We are living a horrible tragedy in Cardenales de Lara. We lost our players Luis Valbuena and José Castillo in a traffic accident,” the Venezuelan club tweeted.

Valbuena, 33, recently played for the Los Angeles Angels and had been a free agent since the end of the 2018 season. Valbuena played three seasons for the Cubs from 2012-2014, playing in 347 games for the Cubs, hitting 32 home runs and 116 RBI.

In a statement on Twitter, the Cubs said, “We are saddened by the passing of former Cub Luis Valbuena. The #Cubs organization sends its condolences to his family and friends.”

Castillo played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants and the Houston Astros between 2004 and 2008.

“We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former Angel Luis Valbuena and former MLB infielder José Castillo. Our thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones during this time of grief,” the Angels said in a statement.

The two men were traveling from the Venezuelan capital of Caracas to the northwestern city of Barquisimeto where their team is based for a game on Friday after defeating the Leones del Caracas club, according to the website BeisbolPlay, an official platform for the Professional Venezuela Baseball League.

It appears their vehicle veered off the road after hitting a rock, the website reported.

Cardenales de Lara third baseman and former major league player Carlos Rivero was also in the vehicle and survived the crash.

WLS-TV contributed to this report

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