Ex-player likely to be released Tuesday night

Updated: October 5, 2004, 5:44 PM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- One-time National League MVP Ken Caminiti admitted Tuesday that he violated his probation by testing positive for cocaine last month; he was sentenced to 180 days in jail..

Ken Caminiti

State District Judge William Harmon, however, gave Caminiti credit for time he already has served in jail or a treatment center since he received three years' deferred adjudication for felony cocaine possession in March 2001.

As a result, Caminiti, who already has spent 189 days behind bars, was expected to be released from jail sometime Tuesday evening, his attorney Terry Yates said.

If Caminiti successfully had completed his probation, the conviction would not have appeared on his record. Because he admitted to failing a drug test in September, a guilty verdict was entered in the case.

"Essentially, it is a wash," Yates said. "One of the reasons that Ken decided to go ahead and accept this adjudication now is because he has got some great opportunities."

Yates said that Caminiti is considering doing some development work in Montana and that his agent is talking to the Padres about an opportunity for Caminiti to join the team next spring, possibly as a coach at the major or minor league level.

"He's got a lot of things he's going to pursue, and he couldn't do that if he stayed here and continued to be on probation," Yates said. "We decided it was in his best interest to go ahead and get this behind him. Get on with his life. He's got a bright future. He really does. And he is looking forward to getting on with that future."

Caminiti has acknowledged he has a cocaine problem and continues to work to defeat it, his attorney said.

"He knows what he needs to do. It's just a matter of him doing it," Yates said. "We think that once he gets some things in his life, some positive things, like getting back into baseball, working with these kids in baseball and teaching them and working with them ... he won't need the drugs anymore."

Caminiti has failed four drug tests since going on probation in 2002 for possession of cocaine, according to his probation officer.

The former slugger played for the Houston Astros twice over a 15-year career.

He acknowledged during his playing days he had been an alcoholic. He told a magazine he was using performance-enhancing drugs when he won the 1996 MVP award as a member of the Padres. He was a spring training instructor for San Diego this past season.

He also split time between the Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves in 2001, his final year in baseball. His drug arrest came shortly after that season ended.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press