Japan slugger pleads not guilty to US charges

MIAMI (AP) — The baseball player who set Japan's single-season home run record last year has pleaded not guilty to domestic violence charges in Florida.

The written plea was entered Friday for 29-year-old Wladimir Balentien. Court records show Balentien is charged with false imprisonment and battery after a confrontation this month at his estranged wife's Miami-area home.

The Curacao-born Balentien is an outfielder with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows. He hit 60 homers last year, breaking Japanese baseball's record of 55. Balentien previously played in the U.S. for the Cincinnati Reds and Seattle Mariners.

Police say Balentien pulled out screens at his wife's home and climbed through a window. He is accused of grabbing his wife's arm as she ran upstairs, following her into a bedroom and locking the door.

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