Juan Uribe says he may sit out season because of shooting case


SAN CRISTOBAL, Dominican Republic (AP) – Chicago White Sox shortstop Juan Uribe may sit out the 2007 season after a judge ordered him to make twice-monthly court appearances in a Dominican Republic shooting case.

“I am going to decide if I am playing in the major leagues or not this year,” Uribe said Friday. “It looks very ugly to be accused of something. But first I am going to resolve this and then I will go to the major leagues.”

The 27-year-old, due to make $4.15 million this year, said the case was likely to force him to miss the start of spring training, which is scheduled for mid-February. Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams did not return an e-mail seeking comment and Uribe’s agent, Martin Arburua, did not respond to telephone calls.

Uribe was questioned along with his brother and a friend following a shooting in October that wounded a Dominican farmer in the coastal city of Juan Baron. The farmer, Antonio Gonzalez Perez, said he was arguing with Uribe and that the player pulled out a pistol and began to fire. An Italian man who was also shot did not file charges.

Uribe said he was not in Juan Baron when the shooting occurred. District Attorney Robert Lugo had said in November that he had no evidence Uribe was involved, but last month a judge decided to move forward with the case.

Under Friday’s order, Uribe must appear in court in the Caribbean country on the 15th and 30th day of every month until the case is resolved. A defense motion to prevent the baseball player from leaving the country was denied.

Uribe batted .235 with 21 homers and 71 RBIs last season.

AP-ES-01-05-07 1636EST