By Times Staff and Wire Reports
Published March 11, 2004
DUNEDIN - Gary Sheffield is angry, not about his thumb injury but over the Yankees' public discussion of it.
Sheffield, back at spring training, was upset the Yankees said this week that the torn ligament might require surgery.
"That was out before anybody talked to me, and it's going to be dealt with," Sheffield said Wednesday after returning to camp. "Everybody should have waited to see what happened before they made those statements."
After a visit to a hand specialist in New York on Tuesday, the outfielder was cleared to resume play.
After learning of Sheffield's comments, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman left a salary arbitration meeting in Clearwater and met with Sheffield for 20 minutes.
"As far as I'm concerned, there is no issue," Cashman said. "Basically, he just wanted to know how we go about it; call it growing pains."
EL DUQUE ARRIVES: Orlando Hernandez is back in pinstripes. The right-hander worked out on his first day with the Yankees since agreeing last weekend to a $500,000, one-year contract. Hernandez is coming off shoulder injury and is not expected to be ready for the majors for several months.
INJURY UPDATE: Centerfielder Bernie Williams is set to swing a bat today for the first time since his appendix was removed last month. ... Right-hander Jon Lieber (right groin) is scheduled to throw batting practice today and make his spring training debut Saturday. It would be the first time he has faced major-league hitters since right elbow surgery in August 2002.
- ASSOCIATED PRESS
Ex-manager Gaston welcomed back
DUNEDIN - Former Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston was back in uniform, helping out around the Blue Jays spring camp Wednesday.
Gaston was in uniform for the first time since he left at the end of the 2001 season, when he was the club's hitting coach. He's expected to be with the Jays through the weekend, then make a few visits north during the regular season.
Gaston led Toronto to World Series championships in 1992 and '93. "When I was first approached about it, I was tickled to death," manager Carlos Tosca said. "To have someone who had the type of career, both as a player and manager, I will certainly do whatever I can do to pick his brain while he is here. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him."
For the most part, this year's roster is new to Gaston, although there are some holdovers. Greg Myers, Carlos Delgado, Pat Hentgen and Vernon Wells are familiar with Gaston.
Gaston's first memory of right-hander Roy Halladay was from 1997 spring training. The squad was split and Halladay was pitching in Sarasota against the White Sox. Gaston stayed behind in Dunedin with the other half of the squad.
"When they got back, Joe Carter (who had been in Sarasota) came running into my office saying, "Cito, we have to take this kid with us. He's nasty,' " Gaston said.
At the time, Halladay was coming off his first full season at Class A. Last season he won the AL Cy Young Award.
BRIEFLY: With his wife and child battling a stomach virus, outfielder Jayson Werth was told to stay home. His absence and some eye irritation to Chad Hermansen left the Jays a little short-handed in the outfield. Jason Waugh, a 2002 11th-round pick, was brought over from the minor-league complex to fill in during an 8-2 win over the Yankees and had a run-scoring double.
- MIKE GANTER
Lieberthal taking it easy
KISSIMMEE - The Phillies played their seventh Grapefruit League game Wednesday night and two-time All-Star catcher Mike Lieberthal didn't make the trip, keeping his total innings behind the plate at zero.
Lieberthal also won't catch today when the Phillies play split-squad games in Clearwater against the Pirates and in St. Petersburg against the Devil Rays.
Lieberthal, who hopes to catch Friday against the Braves, isn't hurt, though.
Manager Larry Bowa says he's keeping Lieberthal's workload to a minimum. Not only does he have a history of injuries, he's 31 and, at 6-0, 190 pounds, catching 130 to 140 games can take a toll.
"There's no problem, but he's going to catch 140 games, barring injuries," Bowa said before the Phillies' 5-0 loss to the Braves.
STILL SORE: No. 1 starter Kevin Millwood long tossed instead of pitching a simulated game because his bruised left nonthrowing shoulder still was hurting. Millwood was hurt Tuesday when he fell on the mound during pitchers fielding practice.