Nearly five months after his arrest, John Wetteland made his first court appearance on child sex abuse charges Monday. Though he didn't enter a plea at the Denton County Courthouse, his attorney made it clear to reporters how he and his client plan to fight the accusations against the former Rangers closer.
"We look forward to the opportunity to prove our innocence," Wetteland's attorney, Derek Adame, told reporters. "(Wetteland) is innocent, and he's looking forward to his day in court."
Wetteland is accused of forcing a child to perform oral sex three times between 2004 and 2006 at his home in Bartonville, according to his arrest warrant affidavit. The child accusing Wetteland was between 4 and 6 years old at the time of the alleged attacks.
Adame said the motive for the accusations against Wetteland will become clear during the ex-pitcher's trial, which he expects to begin in 2020.
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“You’ll see the other side has plenty to gain,” Adame said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram . “We think all of this will be pretty clear, why these false accusations have been made.”
While Wetteland is perhaps best known on the field for his World Series MVP performance as a member of the New York Yankees in 1996, he spent more seasons with the Rangers than any other team. He joined the club before the 1997 season as a free agent and retired in 2000, following four productive years in Arlington.
After ending his playing career, Wetteland was a coach in the Rangers organization in the early 2000s but hasn't been associated with the club in "quite some time," the Rangers told the Observer in April.
Despite his lack of recent involvement in Arlington, Wetteland remains a member of the Rangers' team Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 2005.