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Arraignment Set for Strawberry

May 25, 1999

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Darryl Strawberry, whose baseball career is on hold while he faces charges of drug possession and soliciting a prostitute, will be arraigned Wednesday in Hillsborough County Circuit Court.

The New York Yankees outfielder was arrested April 14 after police said he offered an undercover female officer $50 for sex. The eight-time All-Star also was charged with possessing .3 grams of cocaine found wrapped in a $20 bill inside his wallet.

If convicted, Strawberry could face a maximum five-year prison sentence on the drug charge and up to 60 days in jail on the solicitation charge.

A published report last weekend said Strawberry will plead no contest in a deal that will spare him a criminal record.

Under the agreement, the New York Daily News said, Strawberry would be placed on probation and be required to remain in a drug treatment program and perform community service.

Joe Ficarrotta, Strawberry’s attorney, was out of town Tuesday and unavailable for comment. The Hillsborough County state attorney’s office did not immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press.

Ten days after his arrest, major league baseball placed Strawberry on administrative leave and barred him from participating in workouts or games with the Yankees or their farm teams.

Strawberry, who underwent colon cancer surgery last October, had been working at the Yankees’ minor-league complex in Tampa in hopes of rejoining the team when he was arrested and released on $6,000 bond.

He told police that the cocaine found in his wallet, which had an estimated street value of $20, did not belong to him. And while he acknowledged discussing sex with the undercover officer, he insisted he was joking around and never intended to meet her at a nearby motel.