CARACAS, Venezuela – Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Ugueth Urbina was arrested as Venezuelan authorities sought to charge him with attempted murder for an assault on several employees last month, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Last month, Urbina and a group of men allegedly attacked five workers with machetes and poured gasoline on them in an attempt to set them on fire. All five were injured, some of them with cuts and one with burns on the back and right arm, police said.
Urbina, who was detained late Monday, has insisted he had nothing to do with the violence at his family's ranch on Oct. 16.
"Everything will be cleared up soon and people will know the truth," Urbina told reporters Tuesday in brief remarks from his cell at a police station. "Right now we aren't going to do anything to deny things that aren't true."
The authorities said Urbina would be formally charged once he appears before a judge, and Urbina said he understood that hearing could be held Tuesday.
Urbina's lawyer, Jose Luis Tamayo, said the pitcher was sleeping at the time of the incident and was not involved.
One victim, Argenis Farias, has accused Urbina of being among the attackers.
Urbina became a free agent after playing the last major league season with the Phillies.
"This of course can in some way hurt his career as a professional ballplayer, and all will depend on the way in which he is brought before justice," Tamayo said.
Phillies' spokeswoman Leigh Tobin said the team had no immediate comment because team officials had just learned of the arrest.
Urbina was with his mother and other relatives late Monday at another of Urbina's homes on the outskirts of Caracas when the police came with an arrest warrant, Tamayo said. He called the arrest "inexplicable."
"Aside from whether a person is guilty of a crime or not, if there is no danger of flight or obstruction of justice, that person has a right to be tried while free," Tamayo said.
The lawyer said Urbina has cooperated with the authorities all along, noting he had come to the police voluntarily to provide testimony.
The violence broke out at the ranch house where Urbina's mother, Maura Villareal, lives about 25 miles south of Caracas.
Police initially said the violence broke out in a dispute over a handgun.
But Urbina's lawyer has 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.
Urbina has said the case comes down to people trying to take advantage of him.
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 $6 million ransom.
She was rescued five months later in a mountainous zone in southern Venezuela. The authorities described her captors as Venezuelan and Colombian drug traffickers.
Urbina has a 44-49 record with 237 saves and a 3.45 ERA in 11 seasons.