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Gooden may go to prison

The former pitcher answered "yes, sir" when a judge asked if he had violated his probation.

Published March 22, 2006

[Times photos: John Pendygraft]
Dwight Gooden is sworn in during his appearance in court Wednesday.
Gooden consults with his lawyers in the courtroom.

TAMPA - Former baseball star Dwight Gooden admitted in court Wednesday that he violated his probation by using cocaine and likely faces prison time when he is sentenced next month.

Dressed in an orange jail uniform and with family members looking on, the 41-year-old former pitcher answered "yes, sir," when state Circuit Judge Anthony K. Black asked him if he had violated his probation. He will remain in jail and faces up to five years in prison after a hearing April 5.

"We are seeking prison," prosecutor Pam Bondi said afterward, but it hasn't been determined how long of a sentence her office will request.

Gooden admitted to a probation officer last week that he had used cocaine. He was serving three years' probation for speeding away from a police officer during a drunken driving traffic stop last year.

In November he had apologized to the court when he pleaded guilty to a felony count of fleeing police, misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and obstruction and to an unrelated charge of hitting his girlfriend.

As part of his probation, Gooden was ordered to stay away from alcohol, drugs and bars, and submit to a minimum of three random urine tests a week. He also spent several months in an inpatient treatment facility for alcohol and drug addiction.

His attorney, Peter Hobson, declined to comment on Gooden's latest trouble.

"We're just going to prepare for the hearing in two weeks," he said. Gooden's family members also left court without commenting.

Gooden was the 1984 Rookie of the Year and 1985 NL Cy Young Award winner while with the New York Mets. He went 194-112 with a 3.51 ERA before retiring in 2001. He also pitched for the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

[Last modified March 22, 2006, 16:24:03]

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