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Straw To Miss Yanks' Opening Day

Darryl Strawberry fell short in his bid to return to the New York Yankees by Opening Day.

Strawberry, who had colon cancer surgery last October, will remain at extended spring training when the Yankees open the season next week, manager Joe Torre said today. The 37-year-old outfielder will go to Triple-A Columbus after he completes his chemotherapy.

Treatments are scheduled to continue through at least April.

"Once he finishes up and gets in shape, he'll go play at Columbus," Torre said. "I just told him we'll go a week at a time, and we'll talk on a regular basis in that regard."

Torre, who will miss 1-to-3 months of the season as he recovers from prostate cancer surgery, said Strawberry handled the news "fine." Torre, who has a close relationship with Strawberry, met with him for the past two days at Legends Field.

Strawberry will accompany the team for two exhibition games this weekend at Los Angeles before returning to Florida.

The Yankees, anticipating Strawberry wouldn't be ready for the start of the season, shifted him to a minor league contract during the offseason. While he still gets a $2.5 million salary, the Yankees save approximately $4,500 per day in luxury tax until he is placed on the major league roster.

Strawberry saw time in left field and at designated hitter last year. Chili Davis, signed to be the DH, missed most of the regular season because of injuries to right ankle and tendon ligaments. With Davis back this year, Strawberry must be in shape to play left.

"I just told him we need him to play six innings in the outfield in games he starts," Torre said. "This is what we're shooting for. With Chili on the club, he would have to play some outfield."

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