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Around the NL

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 8, 2001

Sheffield says Rays are on his trade list

VERO BEACH -- Dodgers slugger Gary Sheffield has added the Devil Rays to the list of teams he'd welcome a trade to.

With the Dodgers having failed to swing a deal with the Mets, Yankees or Braves, Sheffield has told general manager Kevin Malone he would like to go to one of six other teams: the Rays, Cardinals, Reds, Cubs, Royals or Rangers.

To make a trade more palatable, Sheffield said he would be willing to reduce his $10-million salary by half, with payment of the other $5-million deferred.

"If I'm wearing another uniform, I'll get my juices flowing again to where I'm real upbeat all the time," Sheffield said. "Right now it's hard to get real enthusiastic about getting out here and playing. I have to remind myself every day to be professional."

Bulging disc forces Dipoto's retirement

TUCSON, Ariz. -- After a career filled with adversity and inspiration, Jerry Dipoto was forced to retire because of an injury.

The Rockies relief pitcher, who overcame thyroid cancer in 1994, tearfully announced his retirement Wednesday because of a bulging disc in his neck.

After making the announcement, Dipoto, 32, hugged several of his teammates. He then sat in the clubhouse and cried.

"The hardest part for me was the understanding that I wouldn't be in the clubhouse and I wouldn't be on the field anymore," he said. "That I wouldn't have a locker. That I would have to wear real pants to work. That's all scary stuff."

After a bulging disc limited him to 17 games last season, Dipoto entered spring training optimistic about his future.

The right-hander had surgery in May 2000 but left the team last week with stiffness in his neck and shoulder. Doctors discovered another bulging disc in his neck, this one more severe than last year's.

BRAVES: Reserve outfielder George Lombard left after one inning with an injured right foot.

CARDINALS: Mark McGwire stretched it out for the first time in spring training, playing six innings against the Orioles. McGwire started on consecutive days for the first time and was 0-for-3 with a pair of groundouts and a strikeout. He also made an error at first base. In his first three spring starts, he played 81/2 innings. "I'm way ahead of schedule," McGwire said. "They're surprised I'm playing right now." McGwire was limited to 89 games last season because of severe tendinitis in his right knee. "I felt a lot better today," he said. "But any time you have surgery anywhere, you're altering your body and it takes time getting used to it."

D'BACKS: Catcher Damian Miller is expected to be sidelined 5-7 days with a broken bone in his left index finger. He had sat out two games with a sore finger before X-rays revealed the fracture.

GIANTS: Right-hander Felix Rodriguez agreed to a two-year contract extension through 2003. The deal contains mutual options for 2004 and 2005.

METS: Right-hander Grant Roberts, who has had back spasms, completed an MRI, and he said there didn't appear to be anything to cause concern. Roberts likely will pitch Monday. ... Outfielder Tony Tarasco signed a minor-league contract.

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