Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Cristhian Martinez was arrested early Monday and charged with drunken driving, days before the team’s regular season starts.
Martinez was charged with DUI, impeding the flow of traffic and improper lane change after police say he was stopped on Interstate 85 in Gwinnett County. A test showed his blood alcohol level registered at 0.13, according to a police report. The legal limit to drive in Georgia is 0.08.
Martinez was initially stopped after two officers spotted him driving around 40 mph and erratically at around 2:45 a.m. on Monday, according to a police report. They decided to give Martinez a Breathalyzer test after noticing his eyes were bloodshot, watery and glazed and that his speech was slurred, the report said.
Gwinnett County officer C. Bailey said in the report that Martinez told him he had one beer and was driving slowly to be safe. He said when Martinez was pressed on how much alcohol he had consumed, the reliever repeatedly said ”I’m good.”
When Martinez stepped out of the car, he staggered and had to catch himself on the vehicle, the report said. He then dropped his key on the ground, and soon told officers he actually had two drinks, the report said.
When Bailey asked Martinez where he had come from, the pitcher said he just returned from spring training in Florida and was going to see a girl, the officer said in the report. A language barrier also could have complicated the arrest. The officer said he had trouble understanding Martinez, who is from the Dominican Republic.
”The more I talked with the driver, the more I saw we were having a language barrier,” he said in the report. ”I was having to repeat myself several times before he would understand what I was asking and even then not picking up all I was saying.”
Martinez was booked into the Gwinnett County Detention Center at 4:24 a.m. and released on bond of about $1,600 a few hours later.
Martinez is the second Atlanta Braves pitcher in less than a year to be arrested on DUI charges. Derek Lowe, who has since been traded to the Cleveland Indians, was arrested for DUI in April 2011 in Atlanta. The charges against him were dropped a few weeks later.
Team officials said in a statement they were ”very concerned” to learn of Martinez’s arrest and that he will be required to be evaluated by an independent professional.
Gwinnett County authorities say a video of his arrest won’t be available until the court case is finished.
Martinez, 30, is in his third season in the Braves organization. The right-hander had secured a spot in Atlanta’s bullpen after a solid spring training performance, and he was among a group of several pitchers who returned early from the club’s facility in Orlando, Fla., to prepare for the regular season.