Ex-Yankee Leyritz, facing DUI manslaughter charges, visits team

3/16/2008 - MLB New York Yankees

TAMPA, Fla. -- Former Yankees catcher Jim Leyritz, facing DUI manslaughter charges, visited former teammates Sunday before the game with Cleveland.

Leyritz spent one hour, 40 minutes in the Yankees' clubhouse. He didn't stop to talk with reporters as he left Legends Field.

"He just wanted to say 'Hi' to old friends," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "He was in the area. He's going through a very difficult situation. It's tough."

Leyritz talked with Girardi and several players, including Andy Pettitte and Jason Giambi.

"The way I look at it, all of us have probably done things that we regret," Girardi said. "Some might be considered worse than others, and obviously it's a very sad story. I don't believe you turn your back on people."

Leyritz pleaded not guilty last month to a charge of DUI manslaughter by unlawful blood-alcohol levels. Police said Leyritz drove his sport utility vehicle through a red light Dec. 28 in Fort Lauderdale and crashed into another vehicle. He previously pleaded not guilty to a charge of DUI manslaughter with impairment.

Leyritz played for six major league teams and ended his 11-year career in 2000. In 1996, he homered for the Yankees in Game 4 of the World Series against Atlanta. The homer made it 6-6, and the Yankees won in 10 innings. New York took the series in six games for its first title in 18 years.