SAN DIEGO -- Alan Wiggins, once called 'the fastest man on two legs' by Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda, has not been able to run away from cocaine.
San Diego Padres President Ballard Smith said Wiggins, who was arrested early Wednesday morning for possession of the drug, has agreed to enter a detoxification center and undergo treatment.
The 24-year-old outfielder was arrested by San Diego police officers at 2:30 a.m. (PDT) after he threw what police said was about a gram of cocaine out of his car. Wiggins posted $2,000 bail Wednesday morning and was freed. He was to be arraigned on the felony count, July 28.
Ballard met Wednesday with Wiggins and the player's agent and attorney. Afterward he announced Wiggins' decision to voluntarily submit to detoxification treatment.
The Padres will pay all expenses, and Wiggins' pay and benefits will continue as if he were an active player, a club spokesman said. Smith said he fully expected Wiggins to return to the team upon conclusion of treatment and to contribute to the Padres' 'finest season ever.'
The Padres are one of the first professional sports teams to establish an employee assistance program for players and staff. 'Operation Cork' offers Padres employees confidential consultation and guidance for problems caused by alcohol, drug dependency and personal or emotional troubles.
Smith said he would talk to the Padres about the Wiggins case in a clubhouse meeting before Wednesday night's game with Philadelphia.
'I'm in shock,' said San Diego player representative Gary Lucas when he heard of Wiggins' arrest.
Wiggins was called up from Hawaii near the end of last season, but did not make the preseason cut. He was called up again on May 3, and batted .263 in the 57 games he appeared in. He leads the club with 29 stolen bases and has scored 33 runs. Wiggins, a Los Angeles native, was drafted from the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in 1980. That same year he set an all-time professional baseball record when he stole 120 bases for Lodi in the California League.