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Four arrested in connection with deaths of Luis Valbuena, Jose Castillo

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A horrifying turn in an already horrifying case: four people have been arrested in connection with the deaths of Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo. They died after their car hit a large rock in the road, which caused them to be ejected from the vehicle. Authorities say that the rock was not in the road on accident. From the Los Angeles Times:

Authorities said the players may have been the intended victims of criminals in Venezuela who throw rocks onto roadways to disable cars or cause crashes and then rob the vehicles’ occupants. Four suspects found with Valbuena’s and Castillo’s personal belongings were arrested by police, state governor Julio León Heredia wrote on Twitter.

If this report is true, and the accident was caused by people trying to commit a robbery, this could be charged as felony murder. Or would be in the United States. Whether Venezuela’s legal system would handle it the same is unclear, but most countries do consider deaths caused in furtherance of a felony — especially when the means employed to carry out the felony are likely to cause serious injury or death — to be the most serious of crimes. It could be charged as a capital offense in the United States, subject to the death penalty where applicable. Venezuela does not have the death penalty, but it would nonetheless be among the more serious crimes that could be prosecuted.

Unconscionable. Simply horrible. It’s murder.

 

Astros’ Verlander to have elbow surgery, miss rest of season

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Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner announced the news Saturday on his Instagram account in a 1½-minute video.

“In my simulated game a couple days ago, I felt something in my elbow, and after looking at my MRI and conversing with some of the best doctors in the world, we’ve determined that Tommy John surgery is my best option,” Verlander said.

He threw to hitters on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in the team’s opener on July 24. He threw 50 pitches in the bullpen before throwing about 25 pitches to hitters in two simulated innings.

“I tried as hard as I could to come back and play this season,” Verlander said. “Unfortunately, my body just didn’t cooperate.”

Verlander has been on the injured list with a right forearm strain. He went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 2019.

“Obviously, this is not good news,” Verlander said. “However, I’m going to handle this the only way I know how. I’m optimistic. I’m going to put my head down, work hard, attack this rehab and hopefully, come out the other side better for it.

“I truly believe everything that everything happens for a reason, and although 2020 has sucked, hopefully, when this rehab process is all said and done, this will allow me to charge through the end of my career and be healthy as long as I want and pitch as long as I want and accomplish some of the goals that I want in my career.”

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