Relief pitcher Urbina charged with attempted murder

Updated: November 9, 2005, 11:37 PM ET
Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Free agent relief pitcher Ugueth Urbina was formally charged Wednesday with attempted murder and will remain in prison while he is tried, his lawyer said.

Urbina, who most recently pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies before becoming a free agent, was taken to a detention center in Los Teques, just west of Caracas. He did not speak to reporters.

The 31-year-old right-hander is accused of joining a group of men in attacking and injuring five workers with machetes and pouring gasoline on them last month.

Urbina, who voluntarily came to the police to provide testimony before he was arrested Monday, has insisted he had nothing to do with the violence at his family's ranch about 25 miles south of Caracas on Oct. 16.

His lawyer, Jose Luis Tamayo, has called the arrest "inexplicable" and says the pitcher was sleeping at the time of the attack. Police said it began in a dispute over a handgun.

Tamayo said the pitcher surprised the workers by showing up at the ranch that night while they were bathing in the pool without permission. He said Urbina spoke sharply to them, but later left and went to sleep.

It was the second violent incident in a little more than a year for the Urbina family. Urbina's mother was kidnapped by drug traffickers in September 2004 and held for a $6 million ransom; she was rescued five months later in a mountainous zone in southern Venezuela.

Urbina was traded from Detroit to Philadelphia in the middle of last season, then became a free agent. He has a 44-49 record with 237 saves and a 3.45 ERA in 11 seasons.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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