Almost six years ago, Urbina was sentenced to 14 years and seven months in prison in Venezuela for attempted murder. As the well-documented story goes, Urbina attacked a handful of farm workers accused of theft at his Caracas home with a machete and tried to set them on fire.
The very last team Urbina pitched for prior to the incident was the Phillies, whom he came to after a 2005 trade that sent Placido Polanco to the Tigers.
Urbina is now working out with the Caracas Lions, the most successful team in Venezuelan baseball history. But, as Urbina told El Nacional, the ultimate goal is to get back to the bigs.
"The objective is to pitch. When? My arm will say, and that's why I'm here," Urbina said. "I'll work out two times a day if it's necessary, but my primary goal is to suit up with the Lions. After that, we'll know if any doors open to me [in MLB], which is what I want. I know that right now my mechanics aren't very good, but my arm is healthy. I only have to work on the details."
Urbina was one of the game's more reliable late-inning relievers from 1995-2005. His ERA was 3.00 or lower in five of 11 seasons, and over the last nine years of his career Urbina struck out 131 more batters than innings pitched.
In Urbina's lone season in Philly, he and Ryan Madson served as a solid bridge to Billy Wagner. Urbina gave up four runs in two-thirds of an inning in his first appearance as a Phillie, but after that pitched to a 3.46 ERA while going 4-3 with 18 holds and six blown saves. The Phils were 56-46 after his arrival, and at 88-74 finished one game behind the wild-card Houston Astros, who were swept in the World Series by the White Sox.
Odds are Urbina won't make it back to The Show because of his seven-year hiatus and attempt to set five people on fire. But there was no news today on Geoff Geary, Terry Adams or Aquilino Lopez, so...