Strawberry Falls Again

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TAMPA: The redemption of Darryl Strawberry may have finally ended. Left to his own rehabilitative devices in the Yankees' spring training complex while the team awaited his full recovery from colon cancer, Strawberry got into what may be the last trouble of his troubled career. He solicited sex from an undercover cop for $50 -- and then, according to police, was found to have 0.3 grams of powder cocaine wrapped in a $20 bill inside his wallet. The Yankees were noncommittal -- team spokesman Rick Cerone said, "We are in the process of acquiring the facts and obviously must let all the legal processes take their course before making any comment" - but team owner George Steinbrenner's personal reclamation project has undoubtedly just lost its luster.

Strawberry, at 37, was hoping to prove this season that he had not only beaten his drug problem and his tax problem, but could also beat cancer. His high school friend, fellow baseball star Eric Davis, had also beaten both drugs and colon cancer, and the pair were the subject of many a heartfelt news feature. Davis continues to play; Strawberry looks to have fallen once again. The Yankees, who dredged up Strawberry for his long-ball prowess, won the World Series last year without him, and remain the prohibitive favorites this year -- without him. Strawberry showed signs of life as a player early last season, and his bout with cancer made him a sentimental favorite. But it may be hard for the team to get too sentimental about a 37-year-old problem child -- even if they do pay him more than $2 million a year.