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Former Cubs Pitcher Frank Castillo Dies At 44

The righthander pitched for the Cubs from 1991-1997.

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This shocking news comes via KVIA-TV in El Paso, Texas, the city where Frank Castillo grew up:

Castillo drowned in Bartlett Lake in Arizona near his home Sunday afternoon.

Authorities say divers are going back into the water today to look for his body and say Castillo was on a pontoon boat with a friend when he decided to go swimming.

Castillo's friend reportedly called for help when Castillo did not come back up out of the water.

The Castillo family released this statement:

"Frank Castillo died on Sunday in a drowning accident while with his family at a lake near his home. Frank was a wonderful son, terrific brother, and an extraordinary father to his two beautiful girls.

"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.

"While we may not be able to thank each of you in person, it is very comforting  to know that you are with us in spirit.

"We will provide information about the funeral once we are able to make all of the arrangements.

Castillo Family"

Frank Castillo was at one time a very good pitching prospect for the Cubs, and his best year for the team came in 1995, when he posted an 11-10 W/L record, a 3.29 ERA and 1.229 WHIP.

On September 25, 1995, Castillo had a no-hitter against the Cardinals broken up with two out in the ninth inning on a triple by Bernard Gilkey. It was the best game of his career, as he finished with a one-hitter with 13 strikeouts. Here's the story I wrote about that game for the "Game In Cubs History" series last winter.

Sincere condolences to Castillo's family and friends.