Sheffield at odds with Minaya, Mets

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Gary Sheffield was out of the Mets lineup Thursday night after the team declined his request for a contract extension.

Manager Jerry Manuel removed Sheffield from the lineup after the Mets' home run leader told reporters he didn't wish to play. Sheffield said he needed the night to "clear his head."

Sheffield asked the Mets for a contract extension in a conversation with GM Omar Minaya, and he was rebuffed, sources said. Sheffield then asked for his release. That request was also declined.

The nine-time All-Star struck out as a pinch hitter with a runner aboard in the eighth inning, and quickly ducked out of the clubhouse after the game.

Sheffield can't be traded, as he was claimed on waivers by the Giants a few weeks ago and pulled back. The Mets could try putting him back on waivers, and hope someone claim him and accepts his contract. But it's unlikely any team would claim him now.

Mets personnel are currently discussing what to do about the situation. The Mets are paying only the major league minimum $400,000 for Sheffield, so releasing him would cost them only a little over $100,000. It isn't certain whether that is an immediate possibility, however.

The Tigers are paying the remainder of Sheffield's $14 million salary.