Former major league players Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo died when the auto overturned while trying to avoid a rock placed in their path by roadside bandits, while two other teammates, Carlos Rivero and Raúl Álvarez, survived with injuries, El Nuevo Herald reports.
All three men were playing for the Venezuela Winter League club Cardenales de Lara.
According to multiple reports, their auto hit a rock in the road which sent them the vehicle out of control and ultimately led to their deaths.
Castillo, 37, played in the majors from 2004 to 2008 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants and Astros. It is suspected that the vehicle crashed when it struck a rock that was placed in the roadway intentionally, as part of a horrific robbery ploy.More news: Pregnant Meghan Markle Makes Surprise Solo Appearance at King's College London
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The club tweeted, "We are living a awful tragedy in Cardenales de Lara". Known for his affinity for bat flips and an ebullient personality, Valbuena was a popular clubhouse fixture in his decade-plus as a Major Leaguer - as evidenced by the outpouring of emotional messages from former teammates on social media. He had a.254 average with 39 home runs.
Valbuena hit.226 with 114 home runs over 11 big league seasons with the Angels, Seattle, Cleveland, the Chicago Cubs and Houston.
'Our thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones during this time of grief'. Off the field, he was a warm and friendly presence to all who interacted with him.
Our thoughts and condolences go out to the families of Castillo and Valbuena during this hard time.