Originally created 02/04/03

Caminiti hearing pushed back to Tuesday



HOUSTON -- Former NL MVP Ken Caminiti won a one-day delay of a court appearance scheduled after he tested positive last week for cocaine use.

"It was decided that we'll be back tomorrow," lawyer Kent Schaffer said Monday. "We're going to try to reach some sort of settlement with the court, with the state, that will allow Ken to get whatever help he needs."

Caminiti, 39, was free on bond pending his rescheduled court appearance at Tuesday.

The former Astros third baseman pleaded guilty of cocaine possession in March 2002, four months after police found him and two other men with drugs and drug paraphernalia in a Houston motel.

He entered a three-year community supervision agreement, meaning the conviction would not be on his record if he met the terms of the deal. As part of the terms, Caminiti was ordered to receive counseling three times a week, speak to students about drugs, continue attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and submit to periodic urinalysis.

Prosecutors say he failed a urinalysis last week, leading them to request his probation be revoked.

Schaffer said state Judge William Harmon could either call a hearing that could result in prison time or limit the conditions of probation and mandate inpatient drug treatment.

"Also the judge is free on his own to go ahead and dismiss the motion for revocation and just on his own send him to treatment," Schaffer said.

The judge could be heard talking with Schaffer about inpatient drug treatment on Monday as Caminiti waited on a courtroom bench.

"This is something we need to discuss and it can't be decided on in a 10- or 15-minute or 30-minute conversation," Schaffer said as he left the courtroom. "Inpatient treatment consists of treatment for several months or so."

Schaffer said the additional day also would allow for an independent analysis of the urine.

Caminiti, a longtime member of the Houston Astros, was the NL MVP in 1996 with the San Diego Padres, hitting 40 homers and driving in 130 runs. He returned to the Astros in 1999, before winding up his major league career with the Texas and Atlanta in 2001.

Last summer, he was quoted in Sports Illustrated as saying half of major league baseball players use steroids and that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his MVP year. Caminiti later said he was aware of only a few players taking performance-enhancing drugs.