Straw's Kidney Also Removed

Darryl Strawberry had his left kidney removed during cancer surgery earlier this month, placing another hurdle in his possible return to baseball.

A friend of the former Yankees slugger confirmed a report in Tuesday's Newsday that Strawberry's surgery Aug. 7 was more serious than previously indicated and led to the removal of the kidney.

It was not immediately known why the kidney had been removed. After the operation, doctors said they removed a tumor near his left kidney and there was no obvious spread of cancer. The doctors were optimistic for an "uneventful recovery."

After spending 11 days at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, Strawberry, 38, quietly returned home to Tampa, Fla., last week, where his is "emotionally and physically tired," according to the friend, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition he not be identified.

It is expected that Strawberry will need another round of chemotherapy. Strawberry had a tumor removed from his colon in October 1998.

Strawberry's future in baseball once again is in doubt. He returned from his first cancer surgery to join the Yankees in spring training in 1999.

When he didn't make the team, Strawberry was depressed and was soon arrested on charges of cocaine possession and solicitation. He returned from a suspension in September to help the Yankees win their third World Series title in four years.

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

Strawberry is in financial difficulty as well. He reportedly is behind in his child support payments to his former wife, Lisa, and has no income or savings to support his current wife, Charisse, and their three children.

San Antonio Spurs forward Sean Elliott returned to the basketball court this season after having kidney transplant surgery.

The NBA star had focal glomerulosclerosis, a disease that prevents the kidneys from properly filtering waste from the blood. It could have worsened to the point of forcing Elliott to undergo dialysis.

With his comeback, Elliott became the first pro athlete in a major sport to return to competition after a kidney transplant.

Strawberry has one functioning kidney and would not necessarily need a transplant.

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