Strawberry: Evangelism his 'focus and passion'

Updated: February 26, 2004, 9:47 AM ET
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- Darryl Strawberry resigned as a player development instructor with the New York Yankees on Wednesday to spend more time with church-related activities.

"Because of the commitments that I have to my church, which includes considerable travel, I do not feel I can fulfill my obligations to be with the Yankees at this time," Strawberry said in a statement.

"I must therefore leave my position as a player development instructor. While I truly love baseball, my focus and passion now are outreach to the community and youth evangelism."

The eight-time All-Star, who has overcome a drug addiction, prison term and cancer, was hired in November. He was going to work with the major league team during spring training and with minor leaguers the rest of the year.

"I remain committed to helping the Yankees in anyway I can whenever possible," Strawberry said. "I greatly appreciate the encouragement and support given to me and my family by Mr. Steinbrenner and the Yankees."

Strawberry was with the Yankees in parts of five seasons from 1995-99, joining the club with the backing of owner George Steinbrenner.

Strawberry was released from Gainesville Correctional Institution in April after serving 11 months for violating probation on cocaine possession charges.

He also has been treated for colon and stomach cancer.

Strawberry is active with the Without Walls International Church in Tampa. He was part of a church group that ministered to Michael Jackson during a trip to the singer's Neverland Ranch in December.

Strawberry hit 335 homers from 1983 to 2000, also playing for the New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press