Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gary Sheffield Ponders Playing for Rays or Marlins

Tigers slugger Gary Sheffield -- hitting just .224 with 13 homers in the worst year of his career -- says he would consider playing for the Marlins or Rays instead of the Tigers because it would bring him closer to home.

"My thing is that you get tired of being away from home as much," the lifelong Tampa resident told The Detroit News in a recent question-answer session. "Being away for eight months is tough. At the end of the day, nobody knows if Tampa's going to win this year or win next year. But every player wants to play at home."

Sheffield -- who has clashed with close personal friend and manager Jim Leyland over being relegated to a designated hitter role instead of right field -- has been put on waivers but has found no takers with two more years left on his $14 million annual contract. Even if another team wants him, he is unsure he wants to play two more years, though he will come back for 2009, he said.

"...If I do play, if it ain't here, it could possibly be there (in Florida) -- or somewhere else," Sheffield said. "Who knows? I'm not ruling anything out. And I might not even want to play (two years from now). I might just want to stay home, because I have a lot of things going on outside of baseball that I have to pay attention to."

Sheffield has battled shoulder trouble all season, and has been held to just 340 at-bats. He predicted he would hit the seven home runs he needs to reach the 500-plateau this month. He will observe his 40th birthday in November.