Rays unlikely destination for Sheffield
Veteran expresses interest, but Burrell is club's full-time DH
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Gary Sheffield would like to play for the Rays.
After the Tigers released the veteran designated hitter on Tuesday, he was asked if he would like to play for the Rays, to which he replied yes.
However, any possibility of Sheffield, playing for Tampa Bay seems remote since Pat Burrell has the DH position locked up, which would mean Sheffield would have to play the outfield.
On how many games he thinks he could play in the outfield, Sheffield said, "As many as I need to. I can go out there on an everyday basis and play in the outfield. That's what I yearn for. I want to be in the outfield.
"At the same time, it kind of puts you in a box when you accept the DH role, because people start labeling you as that's all you can do. And that's not the case. I accepted this role because this was pretty much the only opportunity that I had at the time of leaving New York and going to a place where I was comfortable. So I had to take the DH role. I could've not come to Detroit and waited on another situation and played the outfield. But I chose to come around people that I know."
Joe Maddon was asked if there was any chance the Rays would be interested in Sheffield, who is from Tampa, and the manager didn't take the bait.
"I consider it a high compliment a man of that stature wants to play with us," Maddon said.
Most were surprised by Detroit's move since Sheffield has a guaranteed contract that calls for the Tigers to pay him $14 million this season. In addition, Sheffield, who hit .178 during Spring Training, is on the verge of a milestone, since his next home run will be the 500th of his career.
"I've got a lot left," Sheffield said. "I know that. If one person doesn't think you can play in the field, that's their opinion. I know I can. Nobody understands my body better than me. Unfortunately, I got hurt here and never been able to show what I can really do. But I fought real hard to get back to this point. I just feel like I've got more to give."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.