Originally created 08/19/04

Sheffield says he won't need shoulder surgery



MINNEAPOLIS -- New York Yankees slugger Gary Sheffield will not need surgery on his ailing left shoulder, but said he'll likely get two more cortisone shots to help alleviate the pain.

"It's good news because I ain't never experienced the pain where it lingers on for months and you don't need surgery," Sheffield said before Wednesday night's game at Minnesota. "I ain't never heard of anything like that."

Sheffield sent his medical reports to orthopedist Dr. Frank Jobe a few weeks ago. On Wednesday, Jobe told Sheffield that his trapezius muscle is slightly separating from the bone.

Jobe had been concerned that there was a torn or badly strained muscle on top of the bursitis that has been bothering the right fielder all season.

The remedy? At least a month of rest.

Sheffield, who was in the lineup against the Twins, said he'll play through the pain for the rest of the season and then rest the shoulder. Sheffield said Jobe told him the injury shouldn't get worse if he plays.

Sheffield has been a catalyst in his first season with the Yankees, hitting .292 with 28 home runs and 86 RBIs.

Manager Joe Torre said he hadn't heard the news until a reporter told him in the dugout before Wednesday's game. Torre seemed happily surprised when he heard Sheffield wouldn't need surgery.

"He won't?" Torre said. "Oh, that's good news. That's great news."

Asked if he would agree to sit out until next month if owner George Steinbrenner told him to, Sheffield replied with a smile: "I don't see him saying that."

Sheffield had his first cortisone injection on June 21. He said he might get two more shots when the team returns to New York on Friday.

"It becomes unbearable sometimes and I feel like if I can get a shot that can relieve a little bit of the pain, I can think straight sometimes," he said.

Sheffield also said the news makes him feel better about his baseball future.

"(The pain) makes me feel like you want to retire, it still does, but with the news that I got, I feel like I can come back just as strong as I did this year," he said.