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Strawberry silently takes the field

The morning after vowing to stop speaking to the media, Darryl Strawberry brushed silently past a group of reporters Friday and entered the New York Yankees' minor-league complex.

Strawberry, who entered a plea of guilty in February to federal tax-evasion charges, reported for his first full workout since agreeing Monday to a one-year deal with the Yankees.

Ninety minutes after his arrival, Strawberry left the clubhouse for the training field. As he stretched, he mingled with Yankees Jimmy Key, Scott Kamieniecki and Pat Kelly, all in Tampa on injury rehabilitation. The three later declined comment about their prospective teammate.

Strawberry, whose 60-day suspension for cocaine use ends today, is expected to play next week for the Tampa Yankees of the Class A Florida State League. The eight-time All-Star could make his AL debut June 30 in Milwaukee.

When Strawberry stepped into the batting cage, even longtime baseball people were impressed.

"He's got awesome power _ awesome power," said former major-league manager Dick Williams, on special assignment to oversee Strawberry's progress in Florida. "He's in great condition."

Strawberry, a career right-fielder, ended his two-hour workout by shagging fly balls in left and doing some running. Before leaving, he chatted with fans and signed some autographs.

Bowden wants replay: A disputed call in the 9-8 win over Atlanta on Thursday has general manager Jim Bowden pushing for instant replay in baseball. Braves third baseman Chipper Jones' drive hit the yellow line atop the wall at Riverfront and bounced back. Umpire Frank Pulli called it a home run, saying he thought the ball cleared the wall and bounced off a beam.

"I'm not criticizing Frank Pulli. He's human, just like everybody else. But if you end up losing a game or losing a pennant because we can't call that one replay back, I think that's wrong. Baseball needs to do it, and there's no down side."

Roberts wins: Mark Roberts, a junior-to-be at South Florida, allowed four hits and one run in seven innings as the national team defeated Japan 8-3 at Millington, Tenn. He struck out four and walked four. The United States had 14 hits, including six doubles, and improved to 5-1 on the USA Baseball Tour.

Mantle doctor optimistic: A gastroenterologist treating Hall of Fame centerfielder Mickey Mantle downplayed his body's mild rejection of a transplanted liver. "His prognosis remains quite good," Dr. Daniel DeMarco said on NBC's Today. "I am quite confident we will be able to handle this small problem and he'll be going home before long."

SkyDome checked: Engineers looked for more loose acoustic panels at Toronto's SkyDome. Two of the panels _ 30 pounds and 8 feet by 2{ feet each _ fell during the seventh inning Thursday, injuring seven fans. SkyDome vice president David Garrick said all the panels will be bolted to concrete in time for today's CFL exhibition game between Saskatchewan and Toronto.

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