LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner met with Dwight Gooden this week and said he'd consider giving the former star a role with the team provided he stays off drugs and alcohol until mid-February.
"I want him to prove he can do it," Steinbrenner said Thursday through spokesman Howard Rubenstein.
Gooden was released from prison Nov. 9 after completing a sentence for violating his probation by using cocaine. He served about seven months of a 1-year, 1-day sentence, getting credit for time served.
Gooden won the 1985 NL Cy Young Award with the Mets and pitched for the Yankees in 1996, 1997 and 2000.
After retiring, Gooden became a special adviser for the Yankees in 2001, a minor league pitching coach in 2003 and a baseball operations special assistant in 2004. Gooden left the team for a while, then returned as a special adviser from January-April 2005.
Gooden met Monday in Tampa with Steinbrenner and Yankees aides Ron Dock and Phil McNiff. Dock is a counselor at the Yankees' minor league complex and McNiff is a longtime Steinbrenner aide.
"Gooden came in and he apologized and he said he wanted to straighten out," Rubenstein said. "He also thanked George for the past support that Steinbrenner had given him."
Steinbrenner accepted a recommendation from Dock and McNiff that Gooden show he has committed to reforming.
"First, Gooden would have to prove himself," Rubenstein said, "and by that he'd have to remain clean of drugs or alcohol, whatever his abuses are. He has to volunteer to work for Boys & Girls Clubs for free as a volunteer. Steinbrenner said that the Yankees would help him to get involved with Meals On Wheels or another activity if he didn't know any of these groups.
"He'll have to serve as a very active volunteer in some organization helping kids. He would not be a representative of the Yankees -- he would not be on their payroll in any way," he said.
In addition, Steinbrenner told Rubenstein that Gooden must attend rehab meetings on a regular basis.
"Every week he would have to report to the Yankees," Rubenstein said. "If he's clean by mid-February, he would come in and Steinbrenner would determine what a future role might be. George made no commitment other than to help him in this way."