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Strawberry Says He Broke Probation

April 19, 2002

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Darryl Strawberry admitted violating the rules of his probation and told a court Friday he’s willing to accept the consequences even if it means serving state prison time.

The 40-year-old former major league slugger could face up to 18 months in a Florida prison for his 1999 arrest on drug and solicitation of prostitution charges.

He fought previous attempts by the state to send him to prison, successfully persuading Hillsborough Circuit Court Judge Florence Foster to send him to drug treatment instead.

Strawberry has violated his probation six times.

His sentencing was postponed until April 29 because Foster, who has been handling the case, is sick. Instead, Strawberry spoke to retired judge Ralph Steinberg at Friday’s brief hearing.

``I am on the right road,″ Strawberry said. ``I still have some issues that I need to work on. I need to take responsibility for my actions displayed in treatment.″

Strawberry apologized to his family and friends and to counselors at the Phoenix House, the drug treatment center where he had been serving his time. He was kicked out of the Phoenix House after counselors said he broke rules, including having sex with a resident and smoking.

Strawberry has not used drugs for more than a year.

``It’s just time for me to move forward,″ he said. ``It’s time for me to accept my sentence, my 18 months, and move on with my life.″

Strawberry’s admission and willingness to accept punishment caught prosecutors by surprise. Assistant State Attorney Darrel Dirks has pushed for Strawberry to serve some prison time.

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