Ex-Orioles pitcher released from jail

Ponson served 5 days for drunken driving


Former Orioles pitching star Sidney Ponson was released from the Central Booking and Intake Center in Baltimore yesterday after serving a five-day sentence for drunken driving - ending a year fraught with legal problems for the embattled athlete.

Wearing a black Adidas sweat shirt and jeans, Ponson walked silently from the center's Eager Street entrance before being whisked into a black limousine shortly after 9 a.m.

With the drunken-driving incident behind him, Ponson must now contend with a new charge lodged against him last week - a citation of knowingly making a false statement on a Motor Vehicle Administration application.

Ponson's attorney, Andrew Alperstein, declined to comment yesterday on his client's time in jail. He said the former pitcher will dispute the MVA-related charge, and that Ponson was unavailable for comment.

A District Court judge convicted Ponson, 29, of his third drunken-driving offense and sentenced him Dec. 12 to five days in jail. At his attorney's request, the former pitching ace was segregated from the jail's general population.

Ponson's latest drunken-driving charge stemmed from an incident early Aug. 25, when a Maryland Transportation Authority Police officer stopped the Mercedes-Benz he was driving on Interstate 95 in South Baltimore.

Ponson spent 30 days in a rehabilitation clinic after that arrest.

Ponson's agent, Barry Praver, declined to comment about Ponson's future in baseball or the pitcher's time in jail.

The Orioles placed Ponson on unconditional release waivers for the purpose of terminating the final year of a three-year, $22.5 million contract he signed in 2004.

Ponson's jail sentence came after two previous drunken-driving offenses, including one in January in Florida and one in 1996 in Maryland.

Last year, Ponson, a native of Aruba, punched a judge during a dispute on the island. Ponson served 11 days in jail for that incident.


Sun photographer Algerina Perna contributed to this article.

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