Associated Press

Hoping Dwight Gooden, 30, can come back from the drug and physical problems that reduced a great pitcher to mediocrity, the New York Yankees agreed to a one-year contract with him.

The club has options for 1997 and 1998. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Gooden, who won the National League Cy Young Award in 1985, a season after he was Rookie of the Year, was suspended from baseball for 1995 because of violations of his drug aftercare program.

His signing with the Yankees reunites him with outfielder Darryl Strawberry, his teammate with the New York Mets from 1984-1990. Like Gooden, Strawberry had been suspended from baseball for drug problems before the Yankees signed him last summer.

"We're very happy to have Dwight as a member of the Yankees," owner George Steinbrenner said. "Scouts from other organizations who have watched him pitch have been very, very pleased with his workouts and described his work as 'awesome.' "

The Yankees' negotiations with Gooden were complicated when the players' union objected to Ray Negron's involvement in the talks. Negron is not a certified player agent, and the union warned any contract negotiated with his input would be invalid.

Both Gooden and Negron insisted the contract was put together by the pitcher.

Gooden has a lifetime record of 157-85 with a 3.10 ERA in 11 seasons. He was 58-19 in his first three years and enjoyed his best season in 1985 when he was 24-4 with a league-leading 1.53 ERA.

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