Sheff says talk will 'be dealt with'

Updated: March 10, 2004, 6:24 PM ET
Associated Press

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Gary Sheffield is angry, not about his thumb injury, but over the New York Yankees' public discussion of it.

Gary Sheffield
Gary Sheffield is upset that the Yankees used the "s" word when it came to his thumb injury.

Sheffield, back at spring training, was upset the Yankees said earlier this week that the torn ligament might require surgery.

"That was out before anybody talked to me, and it's going to be dealt with," Sheffield said Wednesday after returning to the Yankees' camp. "Everybody should have waited to see what happened before they made those statements."

Following a visit to a hand specialist in New York on Tuesday, the outfielder was cleared to resume play.

After learning of Sheffield's comments, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman left a major league baseball salary arbitration meeting in nearby Clearwater and met with him for 20 minutes.

"As far as I'm concerned there is no issue," Cashman said. "We had a good discussion. Obviously, there was something this morning. It was important we talked and are on the same page. As far as I'm concerned it's cleared. Basically, he just wanted to know how we go about it -- call it growing pains."

Sheffield originally hurt his right thumb last July 10. The torn ligament went undetected, and he hit .327 after the injury with 17 homers and 62 RBI in 69 games.

"I didn't know the extent of the injury ... they never told me it was a tear or anything," Sheffield said. "They just told me it was a deep bone bruise and that's what I thought it was. I was cautious about letting people know. They [pitchers] would come in more and might drill me with the ball on it, things like that."

Sheffield, who aggravated the injury Saturday, said he will not have surgery this season but didn't rule out an offseason operation.

"He assured me the thumb does not bother him and it's not an issue," Cashman said.

Sheffield said he could played right away.

"It's not as painful as it was the second half of the season. When I hurt it the first time, I couldn't sleep under covers, I couldn't open doors, things like that," he said. "Right now it doesn't feel that way. I've got full range of motion. I have strength in it.

"If I'm out on the field and I don't get any hits for a day, two or three, I'm not going to be answering questions what's wrong. If I can go on the field, I can play. It's not an issue."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press