Former Blue Jays starter Frank Castillo has died at age 44.

Image from Sportslogos.net

Former Blue Jays starter Frank Castillo has drowned, according to a report from KVIA in El Paso, Texas. The 44-year old father of two died on Sunday morning in a drowning accident while swimming in Bartlett Lake in Arizona.

Castillo was a righty who was picked in the sixth round of the 1987 amateur draft by the Chicago Cubs. He made his major league debut in 1991 and had several decent seasons for the Cubs, notably 1992 and 1995. On September 25, 1995, Castillo had a no-hitter broken up with two outs in the ninth, when the Cardinals' Bernard Gilkey tripled off of him. He did settle for a one-hitter when the next batter flew out. He is only one of 23 pitchers, and the most recent one, to record a complete game where the only hit allowed was a triple.

His struggles started after the 1995 season, and was out of the majors in 1999 after being released during spring training. Gord Ash, then-general manager of the Blue Jays, signed him off the "scrap heap" for the major league minimum in 2000, and he was a surprise success. With Toronto, he made 24 starts, going 10-5 with a 3.59 ERA, which was good for a 142 ERA+ back in 2000. Castillo's best game with the Blue Jays came on June 18, when tossed a three-hit shutout through seven innings against the Boston Red Sox.

That start must have impressed the Red Sox, who signed him for a two-year $4.5-million contract. The Blue Jays offered him arbitration, but were reluctant to sign him to a multi-year deal after he experienced some arm trouble that shut him down for a part of 2000.

His final game came on May 26, 2005 with the Florida Marlins, where he was reunited with Carlos Delgado.

We send our condolences and thoughts to Frank Castillo's friends and family.

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