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Straw Back With The Yankees

Darryl Strawberry's dry cleaning somehow found its way to his customary locker in the Yankees clubhouse on Tuesday. Strawberry himself isn't far behind.

The latest of countless Strawberry comebacks will occur Wednesday as rosters expand to 40.

The Yankees made it official they will promote the oft-troubled slugger, who has been rehabbing in with the team's Triple-A affiliate in Columbus since his suspension from Major League Baseball was lifted by Commissioner Bud Selig three weeks ago.

Strawberry has been through a lot -- even by his standards -- since the last time he played a game at Yankee Stadium.

Just as last season's playoffs began, he was diagnosed with colon cancer, abruptly ending a startling revival of a season which saw him smash 24 home runs for the eventual world champions.

Strawberry made a surprisingly quick comeback from the cancer and was with the Yankees in spring training. But instead of traveling north with the team to start the season, the Yankees instead kept Strawberry in Tampa, Fla., so he could regain his strength and rehab his constantly ailing knee.

It was there that his career again went south. He was nabbed for allegedly soliciting an undercover cop disguised as a prostitute and was found with a small quantity of cocaine.

But here he is again, back for one last shot.

Manager Joe Torre will ease Strawberry back into the lineup. Besides, he doesn't really have any vacancies at the moment, which isn't a surprise considering the Yanks have the second-best record in baseball at 81-49.

"I'm not going to mess with Ricky (Ledee) right now," said Torre of the recently surging second-year left fielder. "I don't know what I'm going to do with Darryl but he should be able to help off the bench. I know the players will be happy to see him and I will too."

Though the Yankees would have had a right to feel let down by Strawberry's latest disappointment, they don't.

In fact, he has been one of the clubhouse leaders the last few seasons. Someone star shortstop Derek Jeter often refers to as a "Big brother."

"I know what it feels like to be gone from the team almost a whole season," said veteran Yanks DH Chili Davis, who missed most of last season with an injury. "When I came back last year, Darryl was the first one to welcome me back with open arms, so I'll do the same for him."

Darryl Strawberry will attempt yet another comeback.
Darryl Strawberry will attempt yet another comeback.(AP)

As for the crowd reaction when Strawberry makes his first plate appearance -- which could come as early as Wednesday night at home against the A's -- don't expect a Bronx cheer.

It will be more like a raucous applause.

"New York fans love Darryl Strawberry," Davis said.

No matter how many times he lets them down.

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