Neagle pleads guilty, gets community service

GOLDEN, Colo. -- Former Colorado Rockies pitcher Denny Neagle has pleaded guilty to a charge of patronizing a prostitute and was sentenced to 40 hours of
community service, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Neagle's lawyer Harvey Steinberg entered the plea on his behalf Tuesday afternoon during an unscheduled hearing, district attorney
spokeswoman Pam Russell said.

Neagle, who had faced up to six months in jail and a fine of $500, did not attend the hearing.

The plea, which means Neagle avoids a trial that was scheduled to begin Monday, comes after a ruling in Neagle's favor last week. A judge ruled that a statement Neagle made to a police officer who cited him couldn't be used against him because he wasn't read his rights.

Neagle was ticketed in Lakewood in Dec. 3, 2004, after a woman in his car allegedly told police he'd paid her $40 to perform a sex act.

The Rockies terminated their contract with the oft-injured Neagle three days after his citation under a personal conduct clause. The players' association has challenged the termination and he later reached an undisclosed settlement with the team.

Neagle had $10 million left on his five-year, $51 million contract, along with a $9 million team buyout option, when he settled with the Rockies. He had not pitched in a game for the Rockies since July 2003 because of injuries.

After being cut by the Rockies, he agreed to a minor-league contract with Tampa Bay but then was released.

He has a 124-92 career record with a 4.24 ERA over 11 seasons, going 19-23 with a 5.57 ERA for the Rockies.