Former Cubs pitcher Frank Castillo has died at the age of 44, several news sources are reporting.
Frank Castillo was drafted back in 1987, beginning his Cubs career in 1991. Across 13 years in major league baseball, Castillo played for the Cubs for seven seasons, as well as five additional teams.
After his retirement, he served as a rookie pitching coach for the Mesa Cubs, a minor league team in Arizona.
Castillo lived in the area in recent years, and was at Bartlett Lake near Phoenix, Arizona Sunday when he didn't come up after a swim. Divers were eventually called in to search for the missing former Cubs player, and later recovered his body.
Former Cubs teammate Brian McRae said that he was stunned to learn of Castillo's sudden and unexpected death when watching sports news. He explained:
"It was shocking... You don't expect to see your teammates' name on the bottom scroll of ESPN saying he drowned at 44 years old. Frank was a quiet guy, didn't say a whole lot. I hung out with him a lot, so I knew him at a different level than some others."
"He just went about his business and got the most out his ability, spent parts of 13 years in the big leagues and had some success — a good dude and a good teammate."
Dale Sveum, Cubs manager, also commented on the sad news:
"I played with Frank. It was sad to hear. It was a bad accident at a lake close to my home. He lived near me... I didn't see him that often, but he was a great guy and a great teammate.''
Sveum also said:
"Obviously it was a bad accident at a lake probably close to my house... He lived right over the hill to me. Great guy and he was a great teammate when I played with him. It was an unfortunate accident."
Frank Castillo's family released a statement shortly after his body was recovered from the lake, saying that he was "a wonderful son, terrific brother, and an extraordinary father to his two beautiful girls."
The statement continued:
"Everyone who knew Frank loved Frank. We are devastated by this loss. It is impossible to express in words the level of sadness we feel due to this tragedy. All of those who counted Frank as a personal friend, and to all those wonderful fans who cheered for him during his major league career, we genuinely appreciate your prayers and kind words during this extremely difficult time."