Greetings from Lakeland, Florida, home of the Tigers.
We ponder a what if.
Imagine a lineup with Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz and Gary Sheffield?
That's what might have been had the Yankees not picked up the option season on Gary Sheffield's contract. Sheffield told the Globe that Boston would have been his first choice and was dreaming of being in the middle of the Sox lineup. Obviously the Yankees knew it, picked up the option and traded Sheffield to Detroit. Read more about it in the Sunday baseball notes.
Sheffield gave Terry Francona a big hug when he saw him earlier in the morning and Francona spoke glowingly about Sheffield dueling his pre-game press conference. Francona said the single most impactful made by an American League team was the Tigers signing Sheffield.
"You make a pitch to his neck and he's not going anywhere," Francona said. "He's fearless."
Sheffield will spend most of his time DHing, but he will play the outfield occasionally.
In other pre-game news:
Mike Timlin, who lives in the Clearwater area did his workouts with the team here yesterday. Timlin said he's not sweating the strained left oblique. The team has shut him down for a week, but Timlin said the injury was not serious and fully expected to get back on the mound and start the season on time...
Curt Schilling is pitching a simulated game Tuesday in Fort Myers against six Sox minor leaguers.
Lots of David Murphy talk. Francona admits that he recommended Murphy go play winter ball, but Murphy wanted to stay and workout in Houston. Francona said Murphy made the right decision as he's watched the young outfielder's body transform from gangly to muscular. Murphy is also drawing a lot of interest from scouts from other teams.