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Leading Off

Darryl takes stage for fund-raiser play

Darryl Strawberry was hearing that familiar chant, his name echoing from the crowd. Only this time he was not in a stadium but on a stage. The 45-year-old former All-Star outfielder, who spent most of his 17-year career with the Mets and Yankees, made his acting debut in the play based on the book "The Boy of Steel." The play is about a boy who has cancer and was written by Ray Negron, an aide to Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. Strawberry portrayed himself and received ovations from the audience, which chanted "Dar-ryl, Dar-ryl." "I was very nervous and would much rather play golf," Strawberry said. Proceeds from the one-performance show Saturday at Utopia's Paradise Theater in the Bronx will go to the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club. Baseball, Page C-3

Edwards penalized for failed inspection

Carl Edwards dropped from third to sixth in the Chase for the Nextel Cup standings Tuesday. NASCAR penalized Edwards 25 driver points because his car was too low in inspection after his victory in Sunday's Dodge Dealers 400 at Dover International Speedway. Bob Osborne, Edwards' crew chief, was fined $25,000 and placed on probation until Dec. 31 and car owner Jack Roush was fined 25 owner points. Roush Fenway Racing president Geoff Smith called the points penalty unfair and said the team will appeal.

Sources: Chicago to bench Grossman

Rex Grossman (above) reportedly will be benched by the Chicago Bears for Sunday's game at Detroit, with Brian Griese starting at quarterback. Citing unidentified sources, NFL.com, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday that the beleaguered Grossman would sit when the Bears visit the Lions. The Bears would not confirm that any decision has been made. Grossman threw three interceptions as the Bears fell to the Dallas Cowboys 34-10 on national TV on Sunday night. The following day, coach Lovie Smith, who usually gives Grossman full support, instead said: "Will Rex Grossman start Sunday? Well, our evaluation process is going on right now, and if you come out to practice Wednesday, you'll have a better idea of who will be starting at all positions." Grossman led the Bears to the Super Bowl last season.

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