Brewers Pitcher Martinez Surrenders To Authorities

By Tom Haudricourt
February 9, 2004

Brewers pitching prospect Luis Martinez turned himself in to authorities in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday for allegedly shooting a man Saturday morning.

Col. Ramon Francisco Rodriguez Sanchez, a spokesman for the National Police, said an arrest warrant was issued for Martinez, 23, in the shooting of Rafael Encarnacion Quezeda in a hotel parking lot in Santo Domingo. Martinez had not been charged in the shooting as of Tuesday.

Encarnacion, 37, shot twice in the chest and once in the left leg, was hospitalized but expected to recover.

Details of the shooting began to emerge after Major League Baseball authorities accompanied Martinez to police headquarters. But Brewers general manager Gord Ash said there were different versions of the events that led to the shooting.

“There are a number of different stories circulating,” said Ash, who was in touch with MLB officials in the Dominican Republic. “I can’t tell you which one is the right one. “It sounds like he will claim self defense. There was some type of traffic mishap and Martinez said the other guy came at him with the intent to shoot. Supposedly, there are other players who will support his story.”

According to wire reports out of the Dominican Republic, Martinez told police he argued with Encarnacion at the Hotel Plaza Colonial over a parking spot. Martinez said Encarnacion threatened him and was carrying a gun.

“He took the first proper step by turning himself in,” Ash said. “We’ll see where it goes from there. Apparently, he’ll remain (in custody) until he makes an appearance before a justice.”

Martinez pitched over the winter for the Licey Tigers, who won the Dominican Republic championship and as well as the Caribbean Series. He is on the Brewers’ 40-man roster and therefore has an invitation to spring camp, which begins in less than two weeks. Licey general manager Fernando Ravelo said he had spoken with Martinez since the shooting.

“Martinez got in touch with us by phone (Saturday) afternoon and gave his version of what happened,” Ravelo told the Associated Press. “He’s not running (from authorities), he’s just scared.”

Martinez began the 2003 season with Double-A Huntsville and went 8-5, 2.58 in 115 innings. He was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis, where he was sensational, going 4-0, 0.99 in 46 innings.

That performance earned Martinez a promotion to Milwaukee in September but he pitched poorly in his major league debut, going 0-3, 9.92 in 16 innings. The Brewers had planned to give Martinez a shot at making their starting rotation in spring training, and pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on Feb. 20. Ash said he wasn’t certain Martinez would report to camp on time, even assuming a favorable outcome in the investigation.