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Tigers trade for Sheffield

Yankees acquire three pitching prospects in return

Posted: Friday November 10, 2006 3:11PM; Updated: Friday November 10, 2006 4:38PM
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Gary Sheffield along with his wife DeLeon and son Jaden made an appearance at Times Square restaurant's grand opening earlier this week.
Gary Sheffield along with his wife DeLeon and son Jaden made an appearance at Times Square restaurant's grand opening earlier this week.
AP
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By Jon Heyman, SI.com

The Yankees and Tigers have agreed on a Gary Sheffield trade, SI.com has learned.

In return, the Yankees will acquire highly touted right-hander Humberto Sanchez and Class A pitchers Kevin Whelan and Anthony Claggett, according to a Tigers source.

The Tigers will extend Sheffield's contract for two years beyond the one year and $13 million remaining. Sheffield had a physical on Friday.

Sheffield reunites with manager Jim Leyland and GM Dave Dombrowski, who were all a part of the 1997 world champion Florida Marlins.

Detroit's current starting outfield has Craig Monroe in left, Curtis Granderson in center and Magglio Ordonez in right. Sheffield could play a corner spot with the AL champions or see time at designated hitter.

Sheffield, who turns 38 on Nov. 18, wants to play three more seasons. He topped 34 homers and 120 RBIs in each of his first two seasons with the Yankees but missed most of 2006 with a wrist injury from an April collision with Toronto's Shea Hillenbrand. When Sheffield returned in late September, the Yankees shifted him to first base.

Sanchez pitched 123 innings across two minor-league levels -- Double-A and Triple-A -- last season, striking out 129 batters and issuing 47 walks. He went 10-6 with a 2.63 ERA and threw a scoreless inning in the Futures Game as part of the All-Star Game festivities in Pittsburgh.

Whelan, a reliever, made 51 appearances for the Lakeland Tigers last season, going 4-1 with a 2.67 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 54 innings. Claggett, also a reliever, was 7-2 with a 0.91 ERA and 14 saves for the West Michigan Whitecaps. He struck out 58 batters in 59 1/3 innings.

"I'm more than happy to be reunited with guys that I'm familiar with," Sheffield told The Associated Press.

Sheffield said becoming a DH could prolong his career, and he's happy to rejoin Leyland and Dombrowski. "They treat you like men," Sheffield said. "To reunite with them after 10 years is a blessing."

Said Leyland to the AP: "This is one of the ultimate bats in baseball and one of the ultimate people in baseball. I have the utmost respect for him."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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