Darryl Strawberry sent to drug treatment program
TAMPA, Florida (CNN) -- A judge Thursday told former New York Yankees' slugger Darryl Strawberry to "prove you are a winner off the field" as she brushed aside prosecutors' requests for jail time and sent him to a drug treatment program.
Strawberry, 39, was arrested in early April, four days after he violated probation by leaving a drug treatment center. The treatment had been ordered as part of his sentence for a 1999 arrest on drug and solicitation of prostitution charges.
"You are at bat in the bottom of the ninth with two strikes against you," Hillsborough Circuit Court Judge Florence Foster said. "You have proven you are a winner on the field. Now you must prove you are a winner off the field."
On top of his problems, the former Mets and Yankees outfielder is battling colon cancer and depression.
State attorneys had asked the judge to sentence Strawberry to 18 months in prison after he failed several times to complete drug treatment.
Before he was sentenced, Strawberry asked the judge to let him return to treatment and give him the chance to get over his drug problem "once and for all."
"This case is not about Darryl Strawberry, baseball star," he said. "This is a case about a person who is very sick and needs a great deal of help."
The judge gave Strawberry a suspended 18-month jail sentence along with two years of community control followed by one year of drug offender probation.
The judge did not specify how long Strawberry is to stay at Phoenix House, a drug treatment facility in Tampa, but, according to the Phoenix House Web site, a typical course of treatment lasts a year.
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