CARACAS, Venezuela -- Free agent pitcher Ugueth Urbina is caught in a legal limbo as he faces attempted murder charges in his native Venezuela and waits in jail for prosecutors to formally present evidence.
Prosecutors have not confirmed whether they met the Wednesday deadline for presenting evidence while Urbina, a right-hander who most recently played for the Philadelphia Phillies, remains at a detention center.
The 31-year-old pitcher is accused of joining a group of men in attacking and injuring five workers with machetes and pouring gasoline on them at his family's ranch about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Caracas on Oct. 16.
Urbina has repeatedly denied he had anything to do with the violence, saying he was sleeping at the time of the attack. Police said the incident began in a dispute over a handgun.
The pitcher's attorney, Jose Luis Tamayo argued in the local El Nacional newspaper on Thursday that his client should be immediately released, and objected to the circumstances related to his arrest.
"They detained him without evidence," Tamayo was quoted as saying.
Tamayo has said Urbina surprised the workers by showing up at the ranch that night while they were bathing in the pool without permission. He said the pitcher 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 has a 44-49 record with 237 saves and a 3.45 ERA in 11 major-league seasons.
Sports fans baseball-mad Venezuela have followed Urbina's professional career, and many are closely following the pending case.
Gerson Pereira, who said he watched Urbina play several times for the Caracas Lions Baseball Club, grimaced at the thought of him awaiting a possible trial in one of the country's notoriously dangerous and overcrowded prisons.
"If he's innocent, I hope he gets out soon," said Pereira. "But if he's guilty, I wouldn't want to be in his shoes."