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Playing Time Disaster Brewing

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Sheff can't field:

After completing a 20-minute session in the outfield with coach Razor Shines hitting him balls, Gary Sheffield suggested he's not ready to play the field in a game. Sheffield said he didn't even pick up a glove during spring training. And because he figured to only be a DH with the Tigers, he came to camp heavier, and now needs to shed weight.

At least he's honest. So Sheffield will be limited pinch-hitting duty when Manderson's gone, right? Uh:

The Mets aren't expected to oppose a left-handed starting pitcher in their first two series. Nonetheless, Gary Sheffield may be in the batting order Sunday when the Mets play the final game of their three-game series against the Marlins.

-snip-

Manuel doesn't appear to be rushing Sheffield, but he does appear to be intent on not using Ryan Church as often as Church was expected to play before the Mets signed Sheffield. Manuel even used the phrasing "committed to playing him in right" when he discussed Sheffield on Wednesday.

-snip-

He said he was more winded from the batting drill than from the outfield running. Sheffield says he still doesn't anticipate playing as often as Manuel seems to indicate he will.

Whether Sheffield can still hit, remains to be seen, but it's hard to imagine he'll hit better than Church in any amount of playing time this year. Actually starting him in the field over Church is a terrible idea. Let me reiterate: he was 27 runs below average the last time he played the field, 4 years ago. Since then he "didn't even pick up a glove during spring training" and gained weight. The guy even discounted himself from being able to field. Surely this is a one game deal, used to ease Sheffield back into things.

Later, Minaya said he didn't expect Sheffield "to play more than 100-120 games." Those words were quite surprising to Church.

Fantastic.