Former All-Star closer Ugueth Urbina has been released unexpectedly from a Venezuelan prison after serving more than 5½ years for attempted murder.
Urbina, 38, was given a 14-year sentence in March 2007 after being accused of attacking and injuring workers with machetes and pouring gasoline on them at his family's ranch in October 2005.
The prison officially stated that Urbina was released this past Saturday for good behavior.
Urbina's release was reported on Twitter by multiple Venezuelan media outlets before being confirmed by his son, Juan Urbina, who published a photograph of himself and his father on his own Twitter account.
A two-time All-Star, Urbina last pitched in the majors with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2005 and is 30th on the all-time saves list with 237. He had two saves in the 2003 World Series for the victorious Marlins, who defeated the Yankees in six games.
Veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu, a teammate of Urbina's in Philadelphia, said he is "happy" that his friend has been released.
"I'm very happy because my buddy is currently free," Abreu said. "Anyone who knows him well, knows his humanity, regardless of the (incident). I love and respect him a lot."
In 11 seasons with the Expos, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, Marlins, Detroit Tigers and Phillies, Urbina went 44-49 with a 3.45 ERA. In 1999, he led the National League with 41 saves for the Expos; in 2002, he was third in the AL with 40 saves for the Red Sox.
Juan Vicente Zerpa, manager of the Leones de Caracas of the Venezuelan winter league, said he would "welcome" Urbina on his team.
"He already paid his debt to society," Zerpa said. "This is his home; our doors are open to Ugueth Urbina. He is a Lion."