NEW YORK -- Darryl Strawberry never even got to don a New York Yankees uniform before finding himself in a full-fledged brawl with George Steinbrenner over his $850,000 contract, a fight that may have doomed the odd couple's short-lived relationship.
The dispute, simmering for days, erupted to such an extent last evening that Bill Goodstein, Strawberry's attorney, plans to file a grievance against the Yankees with the players association today.
ESPN radio reported last night that Goodstein would seek damages from the Yankees along with Strawberry's release from any obligations to the club.
"Bill is going to file the grievance on behalf of Darryl, charging that Steinbrenner is not following through with the contract that was agreed upon," said a person familiar with Goodstein's position. "And that will mean he will probably never get to play for the Yankees.
"It also means that he probably will be signing with another American League East team as of Wednesday," the same person said.
Neither Steinbrenner nor any other Yankees official could be reached for comment last night.
However, Steinbrenner, in an interview with ESPN Radio, denied he was trying to renege on the contract. He said he wanted Strawberry and that he was "concerned with Darryl's future" and was only trying to help Strawberry manage his finances.
The dispute apparently involves not the amount of money Steinbrenner agreed to pay the outfielder, but who controls that money.
"It's about the disbursement of the funds," the person familiar with the dispute said. "George, in essence, wants to try to control them from the standpoint of what he's actually doing with the funds."