Ugueth Urbina faces attempted homicide charges
Major League Baseball pitcher Ugueth Urbina appeared in court on Wednesday in his native Venezuela after being charged with attempted murder.
Urbina, who split last season with the Philadelphia Phillies and the Detroit Tigers, was arrested just outside of Caracas on Monday. According to police, Urbina and a group of men allegedly attacked several employees at his family's ranch last month.
The group wielded machetes and poured gasoline on the employees in an attempt to set them on fire. Five workers were injured, and one of them suffered burns on the back and right arm, police said.
Prosecutors plan to charge Urbina with attempted homicide and criminal conspiracy, but the judge must first rule whether the Major League pitcher will be kept in custody for the trial or released on bail.
Urbina insists he had nothing to do with the incident.
"Everything will be cleared up soon and people will know the truth," Urbina said after the arrest. "Right now we aren't going to do anything to deny things that aren't true."
He suggested last month the workers were just looking to be paid off by their wealthy employer. It's not uncommon in Venezuela for the rich and famous to be blackmailed or kidnapped in an attempt by criminals to extort money.
Last year, Urbina's mother was taken hostage for five months by kidnappers demanding $6 million US. She was rescued in February after a gun battle between her abductors and 30 police officers.
"We are always targets of someone," Urbina claimed.
That said, this brush with the law isn't Urbina's first.
In 2004, police arrested him for shooting off a gun, while driving in downtown Caracas. Charges against him were dropped.
In 2000, while playing for the Montreal Expos, the pitcher was arrested for brawling in a nightclub. He was later acquitted of assault charges.
One of the game's best relief pitchers in recent years, Urbina has recorded 237 saves during his career. He began last season as a member of the Tigers before a mid-season trade sent him to the Phillies.