Baseball Notes: Dykstra blames legal woes on drugs, booze

Posted: November 26, 2011

Former Phillie Lenny Dykstra, in his first sit-down interview since his plea in a grand theft auto case earlier this year, told the New York Daily News that he is not a criminal. What's more, his recent five-month stretch in the Los Angeles County Jail hammered home many much-needed lessons.

The 48-year-old Dykstra, who spoke to the Daily News from a rehab center in Los Angeles, blamed his problems on wine, vodka, pain pills, party drugs, and the rush he got blowing through his millions.

"It happened because I was using drugs and alcohol," he said. "The way I lived my life helped me in baseball. But when you're spending $28,000 for a bottle of wine and liking it? Nothing was ever enough."

He faces up to four years in jail at his January sentencing in the auto theft case, and an April search of his residence turned up drugs and drug paraphernalia. He declined to discuss his legal problems, but he was adamant that he's not a bad person.

"I'm not a criminal," he asserted. "There will be a good ending. Just like I knew when I was growing up that I was going to be a major-league baseball player."

Dykstra, who played 12 years in the majors, has struggled with legal issues for several years: His 2007 purchase of Wayne Gretzky's $18.5 million mansion landed him in Bankruptcy Court. He was arrested in April on charges that he embezzled $400,000. The grand theft auto case followed, and he also was accused of exposing himself to women who answered his help-wanted ads on Craigslist.com.

Rivera ready to retire?

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who has one year and $15 million remaining on his contract, is flirting with the notion that next year might be his last.

"I don't know what will happen," said Rivera, who turns 42 next week and may have a surgical procedure done on his vocal cords. "I have one year left. I might call it over. I will know more in spring training."

Bothered for a month by a condition that has turned his voice into a raspy whisper, Rivera has been to one doctor and will get a second opinion Monday.

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