It was confirmed that former Houston Astros baseball players Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo were killed in a car accident on Thursday night. The two players who were members of the Venezuelan team, Cardenales de Lara, had just left the University Stadium in Caracas and veered into oncoming traffic to avoid hitting a sliding rock.
The Astros issued a statement saying, “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 expressed, “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 Operations/ General Manager Jeff Luhnow stated, “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.”
Finally MLB commissioner Rob Manfred released a statement saying, “This is a very sad day for our sport as we mourn the deaths of Luis Valbuena and José Castillo. It is clear by all the stories today that they loved baseball and made an impact on their teammates and the clubs they represented. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to their families, friends and fans, particularly those in their native Venezuela.