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Strawberry's practice off, stock drops

The rain washed out Darryl Strawberry's second full workout with the Yankees in Tampa on Saturday and apparently slowed his comeback at a nearby mall.

On Friday, fans came into Sears Sports Collectibles to buy anything for the eight-time National League All-Star to autograph back at the Yankees' minor-league complex. Store manager Rick Osterman did not have much to offer, but by Saturday color photos of Strawberry in a dark blue practice jersey were available near the cash register for $3 apiece.

But as Strawberry served the final day of his two-month suspension from baseball for cocaine use, not one customer entered in search of Strawberry items, Osterman said.

Asked whether he hoped Strawberry's stock would rise again, Osterman said: "I was rooting for him last year. I'm a Giants fan, so at the time I was hoping he was going to turn that team around. He got himself on the wrong track again."

All-Stars: Denver's Coors Field and Miami's Joe Robbie Stadium will host the All-Star Game in 1998 and 2000, the Associated Press reported. The AP said a baseball official who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed that decisions about the 1998 and 2000 games have been made, and NL spokeswoman Katy Feeney said the sites will be announced this week.

Expos: Arbitrator Anthony Sinicropi ruled against starter Jeff Fassero, but the left-hander receives a raise from $315,000 to $1.5-million. He asked for $2.45-million. Owners won seven of the nine cases this year, and the AP reported that players in arbitration received the smallest percentage increase since 1989.

_ TIMES WIRES

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