Blue can avoid prison time with treatment program

Updated: May 17, 2005, 1:47 AM ET
Associated Press

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- Former major league pitcher Vida Blue was sentenced Monday to six months in jail after failing to complete his probation from his latest drunken-driving conviction.

Blue can avoid incarceration by spending time in a residential alcohol treatment program. Blue needs to work out terms of his treatment with the San Mateo County probation department or he will begin his sentence on June 10.

"Mr. Blue takes full responsibility that he is in violation of probation," said his attorney, Joshua Bentley.

Blue, a six-time All-Star who played most of his 17 major league seasons with the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants, failed to perform his required community service after pleading no contest in April 2004 to a misdemeanor drunken driving charge.

Under terms of the agreement Monday, Blue is not allowed to drink alcohol or go to liquor stores or bars. He also is subject to alcohol testing and must put a device in his car that would prevent him from his starting his vehicle if he is under the influence.

Blue has been a community representative for the Giants for 15 years, serving as a spokesman for various charitable ventures by the franchise. He is currently on administrative leave, Bentley said.

"Vida wants to take some time and tackle these personal issues," Bentley told the San Francisco Chronicle outside of court. "He would hope that the fans would stick by him and give him the opportunity to get through this."

Two months ago, Blue was arrested in Scottsdale, Ariz. -- the location of the Giants' spring training complex -- on suspicion of DUI after a minor accident.

The incident in Arizona was Blue's third arrest on suspicion of DUI in less than six years. Blue also pleaded no contest after police arrested him for drunken driving in suburban Dublin, Calif., on Aug. 2, 1999.

Blue won the AL Most Valuable Player and Cy Young awards in 1971 for Oakland, and went 209-161 with 37 shutouts during his career.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press