Darryl Strawberry collected two hits in four at-bats last night for the Class AAA Columbus (Ohio) Clippers in his 1999 debut after serving a four-month suspension from baseball.

Strawberry popped out for the game's final out as the Yankees' farm club lost to Norfolk, 3-2, in Columbus. Strawberry had two singles, a walk and a strikeout in his other plate appearances.

Strawberry, who is recovering from colon cancer surgery, is attempting to return to the Yankees after his most recent drug suspension.

Strawberry, 37, was originally suspended for 120 days after being arrested on charges of cocaine possession and solicitation of a prostitute, though the penalty was reduced one week by Commissioner Bud Selig.

CANSECO ON THE MEND: Devil Rays DH Jose Canseco is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation following back surgery and could play in September, the team said.

Canseco has 31 home runs, second in the AL even though he hasn't played since July 9. He underwent surgery to repair a herniated disk on July 11.

FIRE AT FENWAY: A worker's blowtorch was blamed for a small fire at Fenway Park yesterday morning that damaged a restroom wall and forced the Red Sox to close one entrance to the park for 30 minutes.

The fire broke out shortly after 11:30 a.m. in a wall outside a rooftop restroom along the third-base line. No injuries were reported. There are seats on the roof, but no one was sitting there at the time.

Fans were gathering for an afternoon game against the Indians. The park was not evacuated, but the team delayed opening the gates along Yawkey Way.

Firefighters extinguished the fire in about five minutes.

Steve MacDonald, a spokesman for the Boston Fire Department, said the accidental fire caused about $25,000 in damage.