Originally created 02/16/99

Steinbrenner angry at Strawberry for skipping signing sessions



NEW YORK -- Spring training hasn't even started and already New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner is on the back pages.

The object of his wrath this time is Darryl Strawberry, who missed an autograph show over the weekend.

"You make a commitment, you have to honor your commitment," Steinbrenner told the New York Daily News. "He didn't even have the courtesy to call Cash (general manager Brian Cashman) and tell him. That, I don't have any place for."

Strawberry and pitcher Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez both missed Sunday's autograph session at the Florida State Fair. Strawberry was seen in Orlando, Fla., at the Magic's 85-82 win over Milwaukee, according to a spectator at the game.

Steinbrenner singled out the outfielder, who is recovering from colon cancer surgery.

Strawberry, signed to a $2.5 million minor-league contract, will join the Yankees at spring training in Tampa, Fla., this week.

"For what we have done, bent over backwards for Straw, we've tried to understand his problems and worked with him," Steinbrenner said. "(The Yankees) guaranteed that salary. That's a lot of money, and we didn't have to. We pulled for him every bit of the way. It's the last guy I expected to have pulled that."

Steinbrenner didn't fuss over Hernandez's absence.

"I'm not concerned as much about him as Straw," Steinbrenner said.

Manager Joe Torre, David Cone, David Wells, Chuck Knoblauch, Ricky Ledee, Shane Spencer and coach Don Zimmer signed autographs Sunday. Coaches Willie Randolph and Chris Chambliss replaced Strawberry and Hernandez.