Baseball: Strawberry's problem reappears: LA Dodger enters rehabilitation centre for 'substance abuse'

Click to follow
The Independent Online
DARRYL STRAWBERRY, who four days before the start of the season disappeared from the Los Angeles Dodgers for a day, has a drug problem and was placed on the 'disabled' list on Monday. Fred Claire, the Dodgers general manager, said Strawberry will immediately enter a treatment centre and could not predict when - or if - the outfielder would rejoin the team.

'He's dealing with a problem that goes beyond the game,' Claire said. 'He did deal previously with a problem with alcohol. This is a substance abuse problem.'

Strawberry met with Claire on Monday to discuss his absence the previous day which had prompted a protracted search by the Dodgers. When the Dodgers located Strawberry Claire said he did not have a sufficient explanation for his disappearance.

Claire did not disclose the initial explanation Strawberry had given for leaving the team. 'What he told me yesterday would have been an unacceptable reason to me,' he said. 'What he told me today shed new light on the situation.'

This was the latest in a series of personal problems that have troubled Strawberry since he broke into the majors with the New York Mets in 1983. Along with his alcohol treatment, Strawberry fought with his team-mate, Keith Hernandez, during spring training and feuded with the Mets manager, Davey Johnson.

Strawberry admitted hitting his first wife, Lisa, from whom he is now divorced, and was arrested for threatening her with a gun. He has also said he considered suicide.

'Darryl was very emotional, in tears,' Claire said. 'He was very disappointed. He felt he had let his team-mates down, that he had let the organisation down. '

The Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda, said: 'Darryl let us down. He let everybody down but I'm hoping and praying this will make him a better person. I knew there was something causing all of this. I didn't know what it was.'

Strawberry, 32, hit four home runs during spring training and though there had been reports linking him with tax problems, talked enthusiastically about the new season. He has been limited to 75 games and 10 home runs in the past two years.

He will continue to be paid while he is on the disabled list. The Dodgers owe him dollars 8m (pounds 5.5m) for the last two seasons of a five-year, dollars 20.25m contract.

Eric Snow, the former San Diego Padres pitcher, died of an accidental heroin and cocaine overdose while staying at a drug rehabilitation centre in the city.