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Taylor, former No. 1 pick, sentenced to prison

NEW BERN, N.C. (AP) -- A judge has sentenced former New York Yankees pitching prospect Brien Taylor to 38 months in prison after he pleading guilty in August to distributing crack cocaine.

Taylor, 40, told U.S. District Court Judge Louise W. Flanagan during Wednesday's sentencing hearing that he was sorry for causing so much pain to his family and his five daughters.

"I made poor decisions," he said softly.

His mother, Betty Taylor, and sisters and friends were in the courtroom for the hearing. They declined to comment. Halerie Mahan, Taylor's attorney, also declined to comment.

Flanagan said Taylor had been forthright and warned him to be mindful of his conduct as well as whom he associates with when he is released from prison. He'll face three years of supervised release after his prison term.

"There will be no fine, since you have children to support," Flanagan said.

Taylor, the No. 1 overall selection in the 1991 draft, could have received between 5 and 40 years in prison. He had been in custody since his March arrest for selling crack cocaine and powder cocaine to undercover agents with the Carteret County Sheriff's Office over several months.

In all, Taylor had distributed more than 200 grams of crack cocaine and about 100 grams of powder cocaine, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

A federal grand jury indicted Taylor in June. Flanagan gave Taylor credit for time served in the sentencing. Taylor was recommended to serve his sentence in Butner, located about 35 miles north of Raleigh.

As the top overall pick out of East Carteret High School in Beaufort, the hard-throwing lefty got a then-record $1.55 million signing bonus. But after excelling at Double-A ball, he got into a fight in December 1993 and injured his pitching shoulder.

He was never the same after shoulder surgery and never pitched in the major leagues.

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