Originally created 04/09/00

Hamilton worried about toe



NEW YORK -- Mets outfielder Darryl Hamilton is so worried about his left toe that thoughts of retirement have crossed his mind.

"I would rather think about worst case and go from there," he said Saturday before New York played the Dodgers.

"I'm not going to try to convince myself that I'm a 22-year-old," the 34-year-old Hamilton said, adding that he did not want to go through major surgery if that is what it would take to return to being an everyday player.

"I've been in this position before," he said. "I've been in position where I had elbow surgery that could have been career-ending."

Hamilton was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday because of the sprained left foot. The toe has bothered him all year and he's already had three cortisone injections.

"It's not a question if it can heal or not," Hamilton said. "I'm not going to grow any cartilage in the toe overnight or in the next week or so."

Al Leiter, who missed his scheduled start because of a sore groin, pitched in the bullpen for about 10 minutes. He'll pitch in the bullpen again Monday and hopes to rejoin the rotation later in the week.

"It was so much better than Thursday," he said.

DODGERS:

Gary Sheffield sprained his right ankle when tumbling to the warning track in the first inning Saturday and left the Dodgers' game against the Mets.

Sheffield landed awkwardly after failing to catch a ball hit over his head by Jon Nunnally, the Mets' second batter. The left fielder was examined and remained in the game for the rest of the inning, but was replaced by Todd Hollandsworth in the second inning.

Los Angeles sent Sheffield for precautionary X-rays, which were negative, and said he would be re-evaluated today.

Following a first-inning single, Sheffield was hitting .400 (8-for-20) with two homers and six RBI, getting hits in all six Dodgers games.

CARDINALS: Seeking the revenue of higher-priced seats, St. Louis announced plans for a 47,900-seat ballpark that would cost $370 million and open as soon as 2004.

While the new ballpark would have 1,800 fewer seats than Busch Stadium, which opened in 1966, Cards president Mark Lamping said there would be more premium seats, which are more expensive.

The ballpark would be built on a site currently a bus parking lot owned by the Cardinals. It would be funded through tax-exempt revenue bonds.

CUBS:

Kerry Wood threw 74 pitches in an extended spring training start, another step in his comeback from a torn elbow ligament.

Wood went five innings Saturday, giving up three hits and one walk while striking out eight. He threw 51 strikes in 74 pitches, which included sliders and curves. His fastball topped out at 95 mph.

DEVIL RAYS:

Tampa Bay placed pitcher Juan Guzman on the 15-day disabled list because of tightness in his right shoulder and recalled reliever Jeff Sparks from Triple-A Durham.

Manager Larry Rothschild said an MRI examination to determine the extent of Guzman's injury was inconclusive. The right-hander allowed eight runs on seven hits in 1 2/3 innings against the Cleveland Indians, his shortest non-injury outing in five years.