Ex-Miami pitching coach to plead guilty in steroid probe
MIAMI (AP) A former University of Miami pitching coach pleaded guilty Monday to reduced misdemeanor charges and was sentenced to probation for his actions arising from the baseball steroids scandal centered at a South Florida clinic.
Lazaro ''Laser'' Collazo, 51, pleaded guilty to two testosterone possession charges. U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga immediately sentenced Collazo to two years' probation and $2,000 in fines, as well as 150 hours of community service.
Prosecutors previously dropped more serious steroid distribution charges and agreed with Collazo's attorney, Frank Quintero, to recommend probation rather than prison time. The charges that were dismissed had accused Collazo of sending underage ballplayers to the Biogenesis of America clinic operated by Anthony Bosch, who was posing as a licensed doctor.
Outside the courthouse, Collazo said he never told a single young player to go to Bosch's Coral Gables clinic for steroids and hopes to return to coaching.
''I have zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol,'' Collazo said. ''I want to get back to doing what I do best.''
With Collazo pleading guilty, only Yuri Sucart - cousin of New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez - still awaits trial on April 6 in the Biogenesis case. Bosch himself was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to steroid distribution charges.
Fourteen ballplayers were suspended last year in the scandal's fallout, including Rodriguez for the entire season. Rodriguez is now with the Yankees at spring training and has apologized to fans and teammates for his actions.
Collazo pleaded guilty to purchasing testosterone without a valid prescription from a Bosch associate for his own personal use on two occasions in 2013. The two charges carried a maximum potential sentence of one year in prison each.
Collazo, who has eight children, called his actions ''an error in judgment'' and told Altonaga it was a stain on his otherwise unblemished coaching career.
''In 51 years, I have never, ever been so embarrassed,'' he told the judge.
In addition to his years as Miami coach, Collazo has also coached at the college level for the University of Louisville and University of South Florida. Since 1993, he has operated the Hardball Baseball Academy in the Miami area.
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