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Baseball briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2001

Mets veterans wary of trade for Sheffield

PORT ST. LUCIE -- Mets executives Thursday spoke among themselves about their ongoing effort to obtain Gary Sheffield and hoped the Dodgers were talking to a third club that might facilitate Sheffield's move to rightfield in Queens.

At the same time, Robin Ventura and Todd Zeile were expressing concern that Sheffield's presence might adversely affect the climate of the clubhouse.

On the first day of full-team workouts, the two veterans independently explained misgivings about the lack of selflessness and character Sheffield, 32, periodically has demonstrated during his 13-season career and wondered whether Sheffield would fit as well in the Mets' mix as he appears to fit in their batting order.

Ventura and Zeile spoke in measured terms, contrasting the tenor of the Mets' clubhouse with what they thought Sheffield might bring.

"The one thing we have here is that we work well together," Ventura said. "Nobody here looks to promote themselves. We're just here to play. That's it. You get concerned when there's an attitude like that that they're thinking of bringing in."

Zeile said he was uncomfortable with "a good player who has bad things to say about his teammates."

Meanwhile, Sheffield called the Dodgers "liars" Thursday and blasted team chairman Bob Daly, reaffirming his desire to be traded as soon as possible.

"Mr. Daly thinks he's going to be able to crack me, but it's not going to happen," said Sheffield, contacted by the Los Angeles Times at his off-season home in Tampa. "I won't apologize and I won't give in."

MARLINS: Pitcher A.J. Burnett has a stress fracture in his right foot that will prevent him from pitching for up to a month. Kevin Boles, the son of manager John Boles, was hired to manage the team's Class A Utica affiliate.

ORIOLES: Baltimore beat right-hander Jose Mercedes in arbitration when a panel chose the team's $2.75-million offer instead of his $3.8-million request.

BREWERS: Pitchers Paul Rigdon, Brandon Kolb, Mike Buddie and Kane Davis agreed to one-year contracts.

INDIANS: Juan Gonzalez didn't make it through his first practice with the team. Gonzalez, signed as a free agent, was hit on the right elbow by a foul ball during the first full-squad workout. He immediately had the elbow wrapped and iced. The team did not think X-rays were needed. Gonzalez did not know if he will participate in today's workout.

MARLINS: Kevin Boles, the son of manager John Boles, was hired to manage the team's Class A Utica affiliate.

REDS: Deion Sanders has company in his baseball comeback: former Red Sox outfielder Mike Greenwell, who has decided to try to become a player-coach for the team's Double-A team in Chattanooga.

RANGERS: Texas has started preliminary talks on a contract extension for All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez.

ROCKIES: Showing improvement from the left calf muscle he strained the day before, slugger Larry Walker took batting practice. He did not take part in sprints, fielding drills or conditioning, but did ride a stationary bike.

TIGERS: Juan Encarnacion was a no-show for the first full-squad workout, but is expected in camp today.

WHITE SOX: Frank Thomas, who thinks he's underpaid, had dinner with teammates Ray Durham and James Baldwin and vented. He was excused by manager Jerry Manuel from the first two days of full-squad workouts. After unpacking his bag Wednesday, he left before a team meeting. "He's a little upset. All around baseball guys are upset about their contracts," Durham said. "It filters down. A lot of guys are wanting new deals because of the deals that are out there."

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