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Yanks exercise option on Sheffield, plan to trade him

NEW YORK -- Gary Sheffield's $13 million option was
exercised Sunday by the New York Yankees, who plan to trade the
outfielder rather than keep him.

By exercising the option, the Yankees prevented Sheffield from
becoming a free agent and blocked him from perhaps signing with the
Boston Red Sox.

Sheffield, who turns 38 on Nov. 18, was All-Star during his
first two seasons with the Yankees but missed most of this year
after injuring a wrist April 29 against Toronto during a collision
at first base with Shea Hillenbrand. The wrist didn't get better
and Sheffield had surgery June 13.

New York acquired Bobby Abreu from Philadelphia on July 30 to
take over in right field, and Sheffield was shifted to first base
when he returned Sept. 22.

Sheffield did not want the Yankees to exercise the option,
preferring to control his own destiny. His contract does not
contain a no-trade clause.

Newsday reported on Sunday that Sheffield's attorney, Rufus Williams, has spoken to the Yankees about a list of teams that the player would like to be involved in a trade. He would not reveal that list.

The Chicago Tribune had reported that both the Cubs and White Sox had interest in the slugger.

New York had until Sunday to decide on Sheffield's option. The
Yankees have until Nov. 12 to exercise pitcher Jaret Wright's $7
million option or pay a $4 million buyout and until Nov. 15 to
exercise pitcher Mike Mussina's $17 million option or pay a $1.5
million buyout.

Mussina's agent, Arn Tellem, and the Yankees have been
negotiating a new two-year contract in the $20 million to $25
million range.

New York also intends to bid by Wednesday's deadline for
Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. The winning bid -- without the
identity of the team that made it -- will be submitted to the Seibu
Lions of Japan's Pacific League, who have until Nov. 14 to accept.
If the bid is accepted, the winning team has 30 days to sign him to
a contract.