Strawberry: Evangelism his 'focus and passion'

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

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.