Cy Young winner Gooden released from Florida prison

Updated: November 10, 2006, 3:00 AM ET
Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Former All-Star pitcher Dwight Gooden was released from prison Thursday after finishing a sentence for violating his probation by using cocaine.

Gooden, 41, walked out of the Gainesville Correctional Institution about 8:45 a.m. and will not be on probation, Corrections Department spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger said.

With credit for time served in jail and in a secure drug treatment facility, Gooden's total prison time was about seven months. He had been sentenced to a year and a day.

Yankees spokesman Howard Rubenstein said owner George Steinbrenner was willing to talk with Gooden, who has worked for the team at times after his retirement as a player. He last left the team in April 2005.

"George has no plans to reach out to him. It's up to Doc Gooden to call," Rubenstein said. "He'll always be open to take the call. He wants to hear what he has to say."

Last April, Gooden chose to accept prison time instead of an offer of probation. If he had violated probation, he would have faced the prospect of five years in prison.

Gooden was serving three years' probation for speeding away from police during a drunken driving traffic stop last year when he failed a drug test and acknowledged to a probation officer that he had used cocaine.

Gooden, a four-time All-Star, was the 1984 NL Rookie of the Year and the 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.

Gooden has had numerous run-ins with the law, mostly related to drug problems.

In 1994, while with the Mets, Gooden was suspended for 60 days for testing positive for cocaine. He tested positive for cocaine again while on suspension and was sidelined for the 1995 season.

Another Mets and Yankees star, Darryl Strawberry, was released from the same prison on April 8, 2003, after serving 11 months of an 18-month prison sentence for violating probation on cocaine possession charges.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press