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PostPosted: Apr 15, 2019 - 05:36 PM 
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CARACAS Corey Kluber Jersey , Venezuela (AP) — Former major league players Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo were killed in a car crash in Venezuela caused by highway bandits who then robbed them, officials said Friday.The 33-year-old Valbuena and 37-year-old Castillo died late Thursday when their SUV crashed as it tried to veer around an object on the road, Yaracuy state Gov. Julio Leon Heredia said on his Twitter account. Officials said some bandits place or throw objects on highways to force vehicles to stop or crash so they can rob the occupants.Heredia said four people have been detained after being found with property of the athletes.Valbuena and Castillo were teammates on the Cardenales de Lara team in the Venezuelan winter league and were returning from a game in the capital when the crash occurred en route to the city of Barquisimeto.Third baseman Carlos Rivero was in the car and survived, according to the website beisbolplay.Valbuena, an 11-year major league veteran, hit .199 with nine homers and 33 RBIs in 96 games this year for the Los Angeles Angels, who released him on Aug. 7.“I will miss Luis’ banter, smile, genuine love for his teammates, and, of course, the bat flips,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said in a statement. “He was a beloved person whether he was on our team or across the field.”Valbuena hit .226 with 114 home runs over 11 big league seasons with the Angels Ricky Vaughn Jersey , Seattle, Cleveland, the Chicago Cubs and Houston.“Luis was always smiling and was one of the happiest players in baseball,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said in a statement. “He provided joy to his teammates and our fans. He helped our franchise turn a corner in 2015 and provided many cherished memories.”Castillo played five seasons with Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Houston. He had a .254 average with 39 home runs.Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said in a tweet that “I join in the mourning that has overwhelmed the Venezuelan baseball family and all of its fans.”Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a statement calling it “a very sad day for our sport.”“It is clear by all the stories today that they loved baseball and made an impact on their teammates and the Clubs they represented,” he said, expressing “my deepest condolences to their families, friends and fans, particularly those in their native Venezuela.”By late Friday afternoon, the coffins with the players’ bodies had arrived in Antonio Herrera Gutierrez stadium in Barquisimeto where they were received amid tears by their teammates. A Mass was held to bid them good bye.The Venezuelan Professional Baseball League announced that all three scheduled games Friday were cancelled and it said flags will fly at half-staff in all stadiums for three days.League president Juan Jose Avila told Union Radio that he was evaluating the possibility of forbidding players from traveling in private cars to move between games, saying if the players had been on the team bus, “nothing would have happened to them.”Venezuelan teams tend to travel in buses protected by security forces. JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Dexter Fowler is taking the best piece of hitting advice he has ever received and applying it to his entire spring training approach.“Have a short memory Michael Brantley Jersey ,” Fowler said.Fowler had a 2018 worth forgetting.A career .262 hitter with an on-base percentage of .360, Fowler hit only .180 with an on-base percentage below .300 while battling nagging injuries much of the year. A foul ball that broke his foot ended Fowler’s season in early August, limiting him to 90 games – his lowest single-season total since the year he broke into the big leagues.“You learn from it and move on,” Fowler said.Now 32, Fowler is entering the third season of a five-year, $82 million contract. An All-Star with Chicago in 2016 when he posted a .393 on-base percentage to help lead the Cubs to their first World Series title in more than a century, Fowler scored 186 runs during a two-year stint with Chicago prior to joining St. Louis.Cardinals manager Mike Shildt is seeing a rejuvenated, more upbeat Fowler compared to the player who struggled last season.“With Dexter, I want that million-dollar smile to be more consistent,” Shildt said. “I want him to appreciate and enjoy what he’s doing and get back to a place that he’s coming from, that he has a lot of records from, and that’s a place of success — not only individually but in team settings.”Jose Martinez, not Fowler http://www.indiansfanproshop.com/authentic-b.j.-upton-jersey , will start in right field on Saturday when the Cardinals open preseason play against the Miami Marlins. Left fielder Marcel Ozuna, working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery, will be the designated hitter in the opener and isn’t expected to play the field for the first couple of weeks.Fowler will make his Grapefruit League debut on Sunday, and Shildt has already announced that Fowler will hit second in the lineup, between Matt Carpenter and Paul Goldschmidt.“From an on-base standpoint he’s one of the elite on-base guys in the league,” Carpenter said of Fowler. “Obviously he’s a great base runner. If you can put what I do and what he does in front of guys like Paul Goldshmidt and Marcel Ozuna it’s a recipe, potentially, for a ton of runs.”Carpenter has reached base at no less than a .374 clip in five of the past six seasons. Goldshmidt has driven in at least 110 runs three times during his career. Ozuna drove in 124 runs in 2017 with the Marlins.Unlike previous seasons, Fowler most frequently hit in the sixth or seventh spot last season.“I’m accustomed to being in the top of the lineup,” Fowler said. “I’ve always been a guy who’s tried to get on base.”


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