Sat, Jul 02, 2005 - Page 19 News List

MLB tells Sheffield to chill for 2 games

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL Gary Sheffield has been told that he cannot participate in the Yankees' next two outings after the right fielder was ejected on Sunday


The commissioner's office has become well-acquainted with the Yankees' Gary Sheffield this season. Sheffield dodged disciplinary action for an altercation with a fan at Fenway Park in April, but Thursday he received a two-game suspension and a fine for his actions Sunday night, when he was ejected from a Yankees-Mets game.

That was not the only item on baseball's agenda regarding Sheffield. Commissioner Bud Selig, who was the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers during Sheffield's stormy tenure with them at the start of his career, could fine Sheffield for fiery comments he made Wednesday about possibly being traded.

Richard Levin, a spokesman for Major League Baseball, said Selig was aware of Sheffield's comments, in which he warned that he would be a problem for any team that traded for him. "It's been noted," Levin said.

Selig seems to be worried that Sheffield could set a precedent for other players by essentially blocking his team from trading him by promising to be unhappy. Sheffield admitted his comments were calculated for that purpose, though General Manager Brian Cashman said they delighted the Yankees.

"He's a guy who wants to stay here and be here, and I applaud that," Cashman said. "Sheff is more a part of the solution than any problem we have."

Rufus Williams, Sheffield's agent and business manager, said he did not think Sheffield's comments deserved Selig's attention. "I don't know what was said there that would be fineable," Williams said.

As for the Sunday incident, Sheffield never expected to be suspended for it. On Monday, he laughed when a reporter asked if he was worried that might happen.

Sheffield was called out at first base in the seventh inning on Sunday, and he slammed his helmet to the ground as he crossed the bag. Umpire C.B. Bucknor ejected him, infuriating Sheffield, who confronted Bucknor in anger but said later that he never made physical contact.

Sheffield appealed Thursday's punishment and will be allowed to continue playing until his appeal is heard.

Cashman said that he supported Sheffield and that Bucknor instigated the tirade. "You wish, at that moment in time, the umpire could just take a step back, turn his head and walk away," Cashman said.

The Yankees in general, and Sheffield in particular, were angry at the umpires throughout the series with the Mets. Cashman said there were "a lot of circumstances that led up" to the confrontation with Bucknor, and Williams agreed.

"Gary should not have been ejected, and I think a number of things took place that led to other things happening," Williams said. "It was a bad situation that was made worse, and it was not made worse by Gary."

Williams said that he had not spoken with baseball's disciplinarian, Bob Watson, but that Cashman had told him Sheffield was suspended for the "overzealous nature of his response" to being ejected. Watson did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Pedro Martinez won for the seventh time in his last eight decisions, and Jose Reyes drove in two runs with his Major League Baseball-leading ninth triple to lead the New York Mets over the Philadelphia Phillies 5-3 Thursday.

Reyes also turned an acrobatic double play in the eighth on Tomas Perez's grounder to second baseman Marlon Anderson.

Chris Woodward drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single as the Mets sent the slumping Phillies to their sixth loss in the last seven games. Philadelphia has lost 11 of 15 games following a 12-1 homestand.

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