HOUSTON – The baseball community is in mourning early Friday after news broke overnight of the deaths of two Major League players.
Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo, both former Houston Astros, died in an automobile accident in Venezuela Thursday. Valbuena was 33 years old, while Castillo was 37. The two were playing winter ball for Cardenales de Lara in Venezuela.
Valbuena played in 222 games for Houston in 2015-16, while Castillo had a 15-game stint in 2008.
The Astros released the following statements on their tragic deaths:
“The Astros family lost two young men yesterday, entirely too soon. During his two seasons in Houston, Luis was an extremely popular player with his teammates and the Astros staff. He was a productive player on the field and played a key role in the Astros run to the postseason in 2015. Off the field, he was a warm and friendly presence to all who interacted with him. Jose’s time with the Astros was brief, but he also had a positive impact on those around him. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends.”
Manager AJ Hinch:
“I am so sad to hear about the sudden loss of Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo. I will miss Luis’ banter, smile, genuine love for his teammates, and, of course, the bat flips. He was a beloved person whether he was on our team or across the field. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and the lucky ones who could call him a teammate or friend.
President of Baseball Ops/General Manager Jeff Luhnow:
“Luis was always smiling and was one of the happiest players in baseball. He provided joy to his teammates and our fans. He helped our franchise turn a corner in 2015 and provided many cherished memories. We will forever remember him.”
On Instagram, Astro Alex Bregman wrote, "RIP hermano."
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Carlos Correa also posted to Instagram, writing "Rest in peace, brother! Thank you for everything you taught me. We will always remember you."
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