Gary Sheffield hasn’t been a very happy Yankee of late.
Rumored to be involved in trade talks, and suspended by Major League Baseball in the last two days, the slugging outfielder will try to put those distractions behind him when New York opens a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.
Sheffield, who blasted the media Wednesday following a report that he was involved in a potential deal to the New York Mets for outfielder Mike Cameron, received a two-game suspension Thursday for an outburst directed at umpire C.B. Bucknor during Sunday night’s game against the Mets.
“All this is is talk, so since it’s talk, I’m going to talk and that’s all I’m doing,” Sheffield said. “The media’s just running their mouth, and I’m just running mine.”
Sheffield, who finished second in the AL MVP voting last year—his first season with the Yankees, was taken aback by the suggestion that he might be part of the organization’s plans for a roster shake up. He also said any team that trades for him should be wary of receiving a very unhappy player.
Manager Joe Torre assured Sheffield that the Yankees had declined any offer by the Mets, and that he was not being shopped around.
Sheffield will appeal his suspension, which will be delayed until after hearings and decisions based on an appeal filed by the players’ association.
“I think Bob Watson’s decision was completely wrong,” Yankees president Randy Levine said. “He totally missed the point that this whole incident was precipitated by a now-known erroneous call at first base and an overreaction by the umpire, who prematurely ejected Gary Sheffield.
“We applaud Sheffield for appealing this decision. We will assist him in every manner possible and look forward to demonstrating to the commissioner’s office the outrageousness of this decision.”
The Yankees, baseball’s biggest underachievers this season considering their $200 million payroll, did make some moves Thursday.
The Yankees split their rain-shortened two-game set at Baltimore, rallying from a 4-1 deficit to win the series opener before blowing the same lead in a 5-4 setback Wednesday.
The Tigers have lost six of seven, including a three-game sweep to the major league-leading Chicago White Sox. On Thursday, Vance Wilson’s RBI single in the second inning was all Detroit could muster against Chicago starter Freddy Garcia as the Tigers dropped their fourth straight, 6-1.
Detroit will be out to avenge a three-game sweep in New York from May 24-26.