Mets add pop with Sheffield
They get balance; he'll go for 500th
Gary Sheffield plans to go for No. 500 with the New York Mets.
One home run shy of the milestone, Sheffield reached a contract agreement with New York yesterday, three days after he was released by the Detroit Tigers in a surprising move.
He is expected to be in New York today, and the deal is contingent on him passing a physical, general manager Omar Minaya said.
"Gary gives us another element in the lineup and he gives us a different intensity, just because of the competitive guy that he is," Minaya said.
The 40-year-old slugger provides the Mets with a righthanded power bat, something they needed to help balance the order. But his role will be tricky: New York was already set at the corner outfield spots with Ryan Church in right and Daniel Murphy in left - both lefthanded hitters.
Sheffield is likely to see at least part-time duty in right field, starting against lefthanders.
Manager Jerry Manuel had spoken to Sheffield and explained exactly what sort of role he envisions for the nine-time All-Star.
"If he can be close to something that he's been, that could be a tremendous, tremendous help," Manuel said. "He lengthens us out a bit with presence."
Church seemed comfortable with the move, too.
"He's more than welcome. He's a great player. He's just another piece for us," Church said. "I can't control what they do."
Sheffield is one big swing from becoming the 25th player to reach 500 home runs. The Tigers will have to pay $13.6 million of his $14 million contract this year while the Mets get him for the major league minimum of $400,000.
The Mariners said the ulcer is no longer bleeding, but doctors have restricted the 35-year-old outfielder's activity.
Suzuki played for Japan in the World Baseball Classic. He complained of severe fatigue and missed Seattle's final three spring training games in Arizona, and was diagnosed with the ulcer - a relatively rare condition for an athlete - after seeing doctors Thursday.
The Mariners play Colorado in Las Vegas this weekend and begin the season Monday in Minnesota. The All-Star right fielder did not accompany the team to Las Vegas, instead staying in Arizona and having a light workout at the Mariners' spring training complex in Peoria.
"It was a very difficult decision to place Ichiro on the disabled list, especially since we know what a fierce competitor he is and how important it is to him to help the team," general manager Jack Zduriencik said. "However, we determined it was in both his best interest and the best interest of the club to place him on the DL at this time."
It's the first time in his major league career Suzuki has been on the disabled list. He has missed just 16 games in eight years.