Straw Faces Surgery, Money ?s

Darryl Strawberry is to have a cancerous tumor removed from his stomach Monday amid questions about his finances.

The 38-year-old outfielder was to arrive in New York on Sunday. This will be his second cancer operation in two years at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.

Strawberry has not made a child support payment to his former wife, Lisa with whom he has two children since Dec. 21, the Daily News of New York reported Sunday.

He was suspended in February for testing positive for drugs and had hoped to have his suspension reduced and rejoin the New York Yankees this season. But then his cancer returned and an investigation began last month to see if he had violated his probation.

Strawberry has no income or savings to support his current wife, Charisse, and their three children, and is not receiving any financial support from the Yankees.

"My understanding, from talking to Darryl and his agent, is that Darryl has some very difficult financial circumstances he has to deal with," Marvin Goldklang, a minority owner of the Yankees who also owns an independent minor league club, the St. Paul Saints, told the Daily News. "There's no question he has to earn money to support his family."

Goldklang has offered Strawberry a job as a part-time coach and community relations worker, but the return of cancer has put that possibility on hold until next season. Strawberry played for the Saints in 1996.

Authorities in Los Angeles told the News that Strawberry owes his ex-wife $22,000 in back support for 12-year-old daughter, Diamond, and a 15-year-old son, Darryl Jr. He is required to pay $3,186 a month.

"It's very unfortunate that all of his problems seem to trickle down to me," Lisa Strawberry told the newspaper. "He's delinquent in all aspects. ... I shouldn't have to beg for my children to be taken care of."

Strawberry is eligible to receive the maximum pension from baseball, but can't start collecting benefits until he turns 45 in 2007. Strawberry could start drawing $32,600 a year at age 45, or $112,221 annually if he waited until age 62 to begin collecting benefits.

The News also reported that Strawberry still has money owed to him from the New York Mets. He deferred $1 million from the contract he signed with the team in 1985, and the money is payable over a period of time, up to 10 years. To collect it, however, Strawberry would have to retire.

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