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OC Register: 4 arrested in wake of Luis Valbuena’s death, as baseball mourns


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Four individuals have been arrested in Venezuela in connection to the deaths of Luis Valbuena and José Castillo, according to the governor of the Venezuelan state in which the former major leaguers died.

Julio Leon Heredia, the governor of the state of Yaracuy, announced the arrests via Twitter on Friday. The individuals were found with property belonging to Valbuena and Castillo, according to reports in Venezuela.

In that part of Venezuela, it is not uncommon for criminals to create road obstructions that cause drivers to stop, allowing them to be robbed, according to reports.

Valbuena and Castillo were among four passengers in a car that went off the road attempting to dodge a rock in the road. Former major leaguer Carlos Rivero and the driver of the car both survived the accident.

The Angels and those around major league baseball shared their condolences on Friday.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo,” read a statement from Angels general manager Billy Eppler. “Beyond Luis’s many accomplishments on the field, we will all remember him for his magnetic personality, radiant smile, and ability to make the people around him better. He will be truly missed by all in the baseball community. Our thoughts, prayers, and heartfelt condolences go out to both the Valbuena and Castillo families.”

Valbuena, who was 33, spent the final two years of his 11-year career with the Angels. He had also played for the Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros.

He and Castillo, who was 37, were playing for the Cardinales de Lara. They had played in a game on Thursday night, before joining Rivero and a driver in a car after the game.

As news of the accident spread, reaction came from around baseball.

“RIP Luuuuuu,” Tyler Skaggs wrote on Twitter. “I will miss you brotha. Gone way too soon. Great teammate and great person. Every day he would have a smile that would light up the room.”

Angels reliever Justin Anderson wrote: “Deepest condolences to the Valbuena family. One of the most contagious smiles to be around that I was fortunate enough to share the field with. May we all learn a lesson to play the game with the passion and spirit that you did. May you Rest In Peace! #BatFlipKing.”

Angels outfielder Justin Upton wrote on Instagram: “The joy and excitement Luis brought every day was a pleasure to be around. Hearing this news hurts deep. I’ll never forget that energy. RIP Lou.”

Commissioner Rob Manfred also released a statement: “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.”

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