Sheffield declares himself fit
After one rehab game, slugger making his way to Boston
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
BOSTON -- Apparently, four plate appearances was enough for Gary Sheffield to decide he was ready to return to the Yankees.
Sheffield started as the designated hitter for Double-A Trenton at New Britain on Monday, going 1-for-3 with a single and an RBI sacrifice fly.
After the game, he declared himself ready to return from the disabled list, where he has been since May 6 with a bruised left wrist.
"I feel great," Sheffield said through a team spokesman. "I'm headed to Boston."
Sheffield should be in the Yankees' lineup on Tuesday night against the Red Sox, though a roster move won't officially be made until he arrives at Fenway Park on Tuesday.
"If he's coming here, I'm assuming he's planning on playing," said Joe Torre after the Yankees' 9-5 loss to the Red Sox on Monday. "I don't see why [he wouldn't start], but we have to make sure when he wakes up that he feels pretty good. I left this to Sheff, so when he feels well enough to go, he will."
Batting third for Trenton, Sheffield singled up the middle in his first at-bat. In the second inning, Sheffield hit an RBI sacrifice fly to left field.
Sheffield struck out against Tristan Crawford in the fourth, then grounded out into a fielder's choice in the fifth, which turned out to be his final at-bat. Sheffield was pinch-hit for in the eighth.
"When you're sitting on the bench and not contributing to the team and you see guys going out there day in and day out trying to pick your whole team up, you want to be out there," Sheffield said before the rehab game. "But at the same time you want to do what's best for the team and not go out there if you can't contribute."
Sheffield's recovery came quickly, thanks in part to an anti-inflammatory injection he received a week ago in his wrist.
"I feel like I'm at the point I can go out there and do something and I'm willing to do it," Sheffield said.
The news of his return brought smiles to the faces of Sheffield's teammates.
"He definitely brings a lot of balance to our lineup," said Alex Rodriguez. "He's a force, a presence. Gary is such a great offensive player, that even when he's not swinging the bat extremely well, he walks, he moves guys over and gets guys in from third. There's an intimidation factor that he brings."
"It will be big," said Jason Giambi. "As long as he's healthy, he'll make an impact being in the lineup. He'll be a big bat in the middle of our lineup. It will be nice to have him back."
Torre was not sure whether Sheffield would play right field or serve as the designated hitter, but as long as his bat is back in the lineup, that's what matters most.
"He's certainly one of the main parts," Torre said. "He's a threat. I'd hate to be the pitcher that takes for granted that he's not going to hit this pitch. He's going to give a lift to everyone else in the middle of that lineup."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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