Judge's ruling allows Uribe to attend spring training

Updated: February 21, 2007, 10:38 PM ET
By Enrique Rojas | ESPNdeportes.com

MIAMI -- An appeals judge in the Dominican Republic lifted a previous order forcing Juan Uribe to appear in court every 15 days during the investigation into the Chicago White Sox shortstop's alleged participation in a shooting last October.

Juan Uribe
Uribe

The decision means that Uribe will be able to travel to the White Sox spring training facility in Arizona on Thursday and begin his workouts with the club on Friday.

However, a judge ordered Uribe to pay a $15,400 bond and rejected the player's petition to have the case dismissed. His next scheduled court appearance is slated for March 17.

"This is a great relief for me. Even though this case isn't over, I can go to spring training," Uribe told ESPNdeportes.com from the Dominican. "I wanted to be with my teammates on Thursday for our first full workouts, but the long hearing made it impossible for me to travel on Wednesday."

Uribe, his brother Elpidio and a mutual friend, Jose Encarnacion, are accused of participating in a shooting in which two men were wounded on Oct. 3 in Juan Baron, south of Santo Domingo.

Uribe pleaded not guilty and has denied being present when the shooting occurred. In January, a judge ordered Uribe to appear in court the 15th and 30th of every month to show that he wasn't a flight risk. The order didn't require Uribe to stay in the Dominican but would have forced him to return to the country every two weeks. Now he's responsible for just under $1,000 of the bond imposed by the court.

"The case isn't closed, but now my lawyers can do their job and prove my innocence, while I can do my job playing baseball," said Uribe, 27, who hit .235 with 21 home runs and 71 RBIs last season, his third with the White Sox.

Uribe has a career average of .258 in six seasons with the White Sox and Colorado Rockies.

"I have been training every day and I am in good shape. I am not going to have problems," Uribe told the Associated Press.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Enrique Rojas is a reporter and columnist for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.