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Strawberry up sooner than Giants expected National League


SAN FRANCISCO -- Darryl Strawberry says he's ready to play in the big leagues, so he'll play in the big leagues.

The San Francisco Giants say it's as simple as that.

Strawberry will make his Giants debut today after completing a three-game minor-league assignment last night. He will be in the lineup against the Philadelphia Phillies, playing right field and hitting fifth.

"At the outset, we all knew he was going to set the timetable, not us," general manager Bob Quinn said. "As he left for the airport Saturday, he shook my hand and told me, 'I'll see you sooner rather than later.' And that's exactly what happened."

Strawberry homered in each of his first two games with the Triple-A Phoenix Firebirds, and after Tuesday night's game he indicated that he was ready to return to the major-league level for the first time since leaving the Los Angeles Dodgers on the final day of spring training.

"Just for me being back on the baseball field and in the frame of mind of playing again, I think going up there is going to give me a lot more motivation," said Strawberry, who originally was expected back the first game after next week's All-Star break. "I'm so accustomed to being up there and playing there."

The Giants signed Strawberry on June 19 after he had completed a four-week stay at the Betty Ford Center for a substance-abuse problem. He continues to be involved in after-care, and the Giants have surrounded him with a support group that includes his brother, Michael, who will travel with the Giants.

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