CARACAS, Venezuela — Former main league gamers Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo have been killed in a automotive crash brought on by freeway bandits who then robbed them, officers mentioned Friday.
The 33-year-old Valbuena and 37-year-old Castillo died late Thursday when their SUV crashed because it tried to veer round an object on the street, Yaracuy state Gov. Julio Leon Heredia mentioned on his Twitter account.
Officers mentioned some bandits place or throw objects on highways to power automobiles to cease or crash to allow them to rob the occupants. Heredia mentioned 4 individuals have been detained after being discovered with property of the athletes.
Valbuena and Castillo have been teammates on the Cardenales de Lara workforce within the Venezuelan winter league and have been getting back from a sport within the capital when the crash occurred en path to town of Barquisimeto.
Third baseman Carlos Rivero was within the automotive and survived, in accordance with the web site BeisbolPlay.
Valbuena, an 11-year main league veteran, hit .199 with 9 residence runs and 33 RBIs in 96 video games this yr for the Los Angeles Angels, who launched him Aug. 7.
“I’ll miss Luis’ banter, smile, real love for his teammates, and, after all, the bat flips,” AJ Hinch, who managed Valbuena with the Astros in 2015-16, mentioned in an announcement. “He was a beloved particular person whether or not he was on our workforce or throughout the sector.”
Valbuena hit .226 with 114 residence runs over 11 massive league seasons with the Angels, Seattle, Cleveland, the Chicago Cubs and Houston.
“Luis was at all times smiling and was one of many happiest gamers in baseball,” Astros common supervisor Jeff Luhnow mentioned in an announcement. “He offered pleasure to his teammates and our followers. He helped our franchise flip a nook in 2015 and offered many cherished reminiscences.”
Castillo performed 5 seasons with Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Houston. He had a .254 common with 39 residence runs.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro mentioned in a tweet that, “I be a part of within the mourning that has overwhelmed the Venezuelan baseball household and all of its followers.”
Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred issued an announcement calling it “a really unhappy day for our sport.”
“It’s clear by all of the tales as we speak that they liked baseball and made an influence on their teammates and the golf equipment they represented,” he mentioned, expressing “my deepest condolences to their households, mates and followers, significantly these of their native Venezuela.”
By late Friday afternoon, the coffins with the gamers’ our bodies had arrived in Antonio Herrera Gutierrez stadium in Barquisimeto the place they have been obtained amid tears by their teammates. A mass was held to bid them goodbye.
The Venezuelan Skilled Baseball League introduced that each one three scheduled video games Friday have been cancelled and it mentioned flags will fly at half-staff in all stadiums for 3 days.
League president Juan Jose Avila advised Union Radio that he was evaluating the potential for forbidding gamers to journey in non-public automobiles to maneuver between video games, saying if the gamers had been on the workforce bus, “nothing would have occurred to them.”
Venezuelan groups are likely to journey in buses protected by safety forces.