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Around the NL

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 11, 2001


Agent: Sheffield drops trade demand

VERO BEACH -- Gary Sheffield abruptly dropped his trade request Saturday, adding yet another twist to his strange spring training with the Dodgers.

"Gary no longer wants to be traded. He has rescinded that," agent Jim Neader said. "He says he will honor the terms of his contract and just go out and play."

In an interview with ESPN's Peter Gammons, Sheffield said, "I'm going to honor my contract and play it out this season with the Dodgers. I feel that I owe it to my teammates and I owe it to all my fans -- especially the loyal ones who always cheer me -- to end this thing right now."

Asked whether he had informed the Dodgers' front office of Sheffield's position, Neader said, "I told Kevin Malone."

But Malone, the general manager, said he had not spoken to Neader: "All I'm hearing is secondhand that Gary has rescinded his trade demand.

"We're going to keep all our options open. But I think all along Gary wanted to be a lifetime Dodger."

Outfielder Marquis Grissom liked this latest development:

"I hope he's here. I can talk to him as a friend, but I can't make up his mind for him. Only he can do that. We're in this as a team. We don't want the fans against us."

The Record of New Jersey reported that the Yankees remain keenly interested, but many officials oppose dealing Alfonso Soriano and other prospects.

BRAVES: John Rocker couldn't protect a ninth-inning lead, allowing the Tigers to force extra innings by giving up one run and three hits. Atlanta won 6-5 in 11 innings.

BREWERS: Jeff D'Amico's sore arm isn't serious but he will miss Tuesday's scheduled start. The right-hander who has a history of shoulder problems was examined by a team doctor to determine the cause of unusual soreness near the biceps in his right arm. There is inflammation but no structural damage and the swelling isn't related to his previous shoulder operations, the team said.

CARDINALS: Bobby Bonilla, playing in Port St. Lucie, was booed loudly by Mets fans. Bonilla, who angered fans during two stays with the Mets, was booed with gusto each time he batted. After hitting a single and reaching second base in the third inning, Bonilla kidded with shortstop Rey Ordonez and second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo. Fans cheered when Dennis Cook struck out Bonilla on a 3-and-2 changeup.

CUBS: Kerry Wood's second outing was a little better than his first. Wood gave up one run and three hits in four innings. Monday against Seattle, Wood gave up five runs and five hits in three innings.

EXPOS: Tim Raines will be in Tampa today to face his former Yankees teammates as he attempts a comeback. "It's going to be good to go back and see those guys again," said Raines, 41. ... Right-hander Hideki Irabu was back in uniform. He left the team Thursday to return to Japan and missed his second scheduled start. The Expos said Irabu reached Los Angeles, called home and the issues had been resolved.

METS: Starter Kevin Appier held the Cardinals scoreless through three innings, but it was difficult. Errors by first baseman Todd Zeile and third baseman Robin Ventura created jams in the first two innings and Appier allowed two hits in the third, escaping a bases-loaded situation. St. Louis stranded eight runners in the first two innings and 11 overall. "There were some situations that were created and he battled his way out of them," Mets manager Bobby Valentine said. ... Ordonez was 0-for-2 with a walk, leaving him 0-for-15. ... Right-hander Rick Croushore who has a sore right shoulder, might not make an appearance this spring and could be headed for the disabled list to begin the season.

PADRES: Right-hander Matt Clement returned, thankful doctors say his liver condition appears to be treatable.

PIRATES: In his first game after signing a $13-million, four-year contract, Kris Benson gave up eight runs -- six earned -- and nine hits in four innings.

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