Strawberry arrested; prison time may be next

Tuesday, April 3rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Darryl Strawberry's latest absence from a drug treatment center ended with the former New York Yankees slugger's arrest at a hospital.

Strawberry was taken into custody at St. Joseph's Hospital on Monday night, four days after he left the Health Care Connection, a drug treatment center in Tampa. He was charged with violating a probation warrant, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debbie Carter said.

First word that Strawberry was safe came from Ray Negron, a Cleveland Indians consultant who advised the former player when he played for the Yankees.

``The search is over and Darryl is OK,'' Negron said about two hours before Strawberry was arrested. ``We've put him in a hospital to make sure he's taken care of.''

Further details on Strawberry's disappearance were not known.

The 39-year-old Strawberry, who is also being treated for colon cancer, was wearing an electronic monitor as a sentence for his 1999 arrest on drug and solicitation of prostitution charges. The monitor showed he had left, but did not indicate where he had gone.

Earlier Monday, police had said they were investigating an unconfirmed report that Strawberry was kidnapped and being held in Orlando, where his captors were demanding $50,000.

Prosecutors had said they would seek a prison sentence for Strawberry once he was located.

Strawberry also disappeared from the center in October. He left with a friend for an overnight drug binge but turned himself in the next day.

If it is determined that Strawberry broke house arrest by leaving the center Thursday, it will be the fourth time he has violated conditions imposed by a judge.

The judge has kept Strawberry out of prison so he can seek treatment for his addiction and cancer.