Former major league All-Star closer Ugueth Urbina is back in baseball after spending more than seven years in prison for attempted murder.
Urbina, who was released from prison last Sunday, took the field at University Stadium in Caracus, Venezuela on Friday. He told reporters that he was looking forward to playing baseball again. He threw a bullpen session with the Caracus Lions of the Venezuelan Winter League.
Urbina, 38, served about half of his 14-year sentence over a gun dispute in October 2005. He was accused of attacking multiple men on his property, allegedly trying to set them on fire and going after at least one with a machete. The incident ended an 11-year career in which Urbina twice made the All-Star team. He led the National League with 41 saves for the Montreal Expos in 1999.
In 583 career appearances, including 21 starts, Urbina went 44-49 with 237 saves and a 3.45 ERA.
Urbina said he hopes to make it back to the majors, but "the first order of business is pitching in Venezuela."
---Chicago Cubs right-hander Matt Garza missed much of the second half of the year with a stress reaction in his throwing elbow, but told CSNChicago.com on Friday that he expects to be ready and healthy by Opening Day.
Garza said he has had no problems since he started throwing earlier this month.
"If spring training started tomorrow, I would be ready to go," he said. "I'm not ready to pitch six innings today, but I will be ready to go when the season starts. I will be ready to go Opening Day, that's guaranteed."
Garza, 29, is due to become a free agent at the end of 2013. He was 5-7 with a 3.91 ERA in 18 starts in 2012.